After living with my JAZZ DANCING characters for two years, it was hard to let go. I could fiddle forever, changing words, sentences, rearranging paragraphs. Writing is subjective; there is no such thing as perfect. You can always make it better… or worse!
I’m in a fabulous writing group of four novelists, but because each of us shares only one of our chapters every two weeks, we don’t always have a true sense of the whole. We look to trusted individuals who have never seen the manuscript to do a final read—not an edit, just a read—for comments. For JAZZ, I chose a jazz radio host, a jazz aficionado, an avid reader of commercial fiction, and a few commercially published novelists. Their collective response told me I was ready to go. Once I received all comments, I went through the manuscript one last time, then closed my file and sent it into the world to seek an agent.
While working on JAZZ, I had ideas for other projects. Whenever I felt the urge, I went into an IDEA file and banged out notes for future stories. Having those notes now allows me to put JAZZ aside (at least until an agent asks for changes) and build a new world of characters.
Two lessons here:
- When you get ideas for a new project, park them in separate file so you won’t get off track on your initial project.
- You don’t want to send out a manuscript until it’s ready. But when is it ready? Family and friends are not the best judges of your work; best to share it with other published authors as well as with experts in a given subject area. With an historical novel, you may also want to consult fact checkers—librarians are great for that.
Now onto the next novel…