I’ve been sitting on my novel; Editing, and re-writing, and more editing; for the last four months. I did everything I could before getting a professional opinion. I thought it had to be the best I could do, so I tried to make it just that.
Finally, last month I thought it was ready. The problem was—submitting my first full novel to anyone for the first time was a terrifying proposition. Why? Because I had no idea if it was up to par.
Are there any plot holes?
Does the plot make any f***ing sense!?
Are my characters believable?
Does my novel say anything about me or the human condition?
Do I know how to put together a proper sentence–let alone thousands of them?
Based on this blog post, I’m afraid not.
Is this interesting?
These were all questions that reverberated over and over in my thick skull. I don’t know if it’s like this for seasoned authors, but the thought of someone answering those questions before I did was horrifying.
Yes, I’ve had edits in the past on school papers, short stories, research papers, etc. but a novel? Absolutely not!
When I finally got the review back, my heart pounded in my chest.
But, low and behold I got a positive response back:
What? Someone actually liked what I had to say? They found meaning in a book that I couldn’t!
The coincidences and themes the editor brought up about my book that I wasn’t aware of blew my mind.
The editor also gave me many things that I need to change regarding POV and tense issues—which is making for a very productive re-write.
So…what’s the point of this post? To pat myself on the back?
The point I’m trying to make is that when you create a story from scratch, you have no idea if it’s up to snuff until you relinquish the control and let somebody else get their hands on it.
Is it scary? Yes.
Does it suck seeing errors in your work? You bet!
Will it ultimately make you a better writer, and make your story better? Also, a resounding YES.
I know, I know. It’s no fun letting someone else see what you’ve been working on for months…alone…hidden.
That being said, it’s the only way to give you the confidence to move on and finish the project. As artists (yes, I like to think writing makes me an artist) we’re often the worst judge of our own work, so until we let other eyes see what we’ve done—we truly have no idea what we have sitting in front of us.