In a lot of ways, refining a manuscript is like carving an ice sculpture. You start off with broad strokes and cuts to create a general outline. Then, as the structure within reveals itself, you need to make finer chips and cuts. The last step involves careful and delicate movements to shave off the remaining millimeters of unneeded ice. It takes time, but it leads to a polished, shiny, spectacular piece of art.
Developing the skills required to create a sculpture takes time. It takes another skill set entirely to make it a masterpiece. The same goes for writing. This lesson I learned quite recently. Today actually.
Let me share. My most recent manuscript is “close” to being “ready.” I’ve checked and rechecked the prose, spelling, flow of sentences, and overall plot, looking one more time for mistakes, holes, and wonky grammar. I’ve considered every comment my beta readers have made. I’ve tweaked my query letter again. I’ve ensured my synopsis is both concise and streamlined.
So, on the eve of wooing agents, I pause. What’s holding me back? Something’s off. But I’m not sure what. I’ve done all I can, right? All the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed (forgive the cliché, but it fits!). So, what is it? Why can’t I see it?
Guess what? Seeing the “obvious” isn’t so easy. Time and time again, I’ve learned the simplest things can often be the hardest. You see, just as finishing off an ice sculpture requires an eye for subtlety, so too, does completing a manuscript.
It means I need to tighten my writing more. I need to eliminate redundancy. I need to bring the reader closer to my characters.
So, what’s my plan to carry this off? I’m gonna listen to the invaluable advice that was just given to me by an experienced, skilled, and wiser writer than I. (She knows who she is! * wink *.) And by doing so, I’m gonna take my writing to the next level.
Bottom line: I’m ready to develop a more discerning eye. I’m ready to see the gleaming sculpture my manuscript can be. Watch out subtlety, here I come.
Write on, my friend!
Hi. Found your site by accident–your comment on the Gifted website. Am fascinated by your blog–your writing about your writing is refreshing. You are a psychiatrist–I am envious–maybe someday but for now I am writing too.
I’m more non-fiction but I’ve written some Children’s books but haven’t tried to get them published yet. I’m writing songs right now. Anyway, I’d love to get your professional psychiatric opinion on my blog. I am writing to support others like myself who are gifted highly sensitive people who grew up with a narcissistic parent. Please check me out at hopehealing dot wordpress dot com. Hope to hear from you! I am putting your blog on my favorites–I can learn a lot from you. Elaine
Beautifully written! I’m linking back to you.
Thank you, Deb and Lynn!
hopesinger9, thank you for stopping by! Building confidence can be challenging, however, do what you’re doing (which is keeping going), and you’ll learn more about yourself and others than you could ever have imagined.