Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP Wednesday: When is A Manuscript Really "Finished?"

You’ve worked countless hours writing, rewriting and revising your book. You’ve run the manuscript through your critique group multiple times, and now you’re certain the manuscript is finished. But is it?

As writers, we can be the greatest procrastinators in the world. It’s not that we don’t want our work out for the entire world to see, because we do. No, it’s that we are unable to release our baby until it’s just perfect. Completely perfect. Without blemish. Ready for human consumption. 

More realistically we want to feel like there’s nothing more to be done to the manuscript---at least not until an agent offers their input (and representation). There’s nothing wrong with this and I’m a firm believer in never sending out work until it’s reached that point of completeness.

A first draft is not a finished manuscript; it’s merely a first step. One rewrite doesn’t meet the “finished” criteria, either. No questions or concerns from your critique group or beta readers? Perhaps you’ve really finished the book. Take all of this with a grain of salt. Each of us has our own definitions for “finished” and “complete”. Consider what those words mean for your manuscript and then bravely wave goodbye and send it off to an agent or editor. And then get started on your next project, looking forward to when you’ll finish that one.

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