I wrote a historical novel tentatively titled Wishing Caswell Dead. The last draft (which I once considered the final draft) has been sitting in my office for a long time. I've even pitched it a couple of times, but I've never submitted a synopsis or a partial.
Sometimes it's puzzling why we don't submit our work. Is it just procrastination? Sometimes.
Are we afraid of rejection? Possibly.
Or do we instinctively know the manuscript is not ready? Maybe so.
It has been several months since I've looked at the story. I finally opened the document file this weekend and read the first page. Then I read the first page of the second chapter. And I saw it. I saw what's wrong.
I took a deep breath and when I let it out, it felt like a sigh of relief.
I'm revising Wishing Caswell Dead one more time. And it's going to be a much better book.
Sometimes we finish a manuscript and we're certain it's ready for submission. If there's doubt, however, it won't kill us to let the manuscript rest for weeks, or even months, while we work on other projects. When we come back to that manuscript with renewed interest and enthusiasm, we're likely to see our stories in a new way. We imagine new scenes. Opportunities to add description or dialogue appear before our eyes. We even see typos we didn't spot before.
After we let the manuscript rest, we can read it as though we're critiquing another writer's work. It's like reading our own work with a stranger's eyes.
Of course, my poor critique group is now going to suffer through another rewrite of Wishing Caswell Dead. I hope they don't mind too much.