Saturday, 21 February 2009

Sick of ms v. sick ms

I am officially 'over' my editing of 'Wanted - an Unconventional Wife' and it's printed off and sitting in a envelope. It might get posted off to the RNA or then again it might not... It depends entirely on my mood.

Here is my problem - I am completely and utterly sick of it. I've done my fifth read through and implemented suggestions but every time I read I see things to change and I suspect this process might actually be endless! It's now not so much a story to me as a collection of 54,342 words (it grows each time I edit so I really have to stop before 55 k).

I'm sure there is more to improve but I find I don't actually care anymore so either the ms is sick, or I'm sick of it (or perhaps I'm just plain sick - still having head and eye problems from the injury which really doesn't help).

I discovered the joy of writing (a new story idea) rather than editing the other day and it was wonderful to 'just write' for a change. 

So the poor abandoned 'Unconventional Wife' might find itself on the way to the post office soon and hopefully by the time I get it back I'll be ready to read the report.

It would be useful to know from those of you who've submitted to the New Writers' Scheme before how you found the process. How long did it take to hear back, how much detail do they go into etc...

10 comments:

Jan Mader said...

Thanks so much for stopping by to leave a comment. I am so happy to get to meet people like you. We're all in it together...that's for sure. My worst experience was accidentally selling the same book twice. Since I write mostly for children many of my manuscripts are very short. A publisher called me six years after I submitted to him, asking if my book was still available. I told him it was. I forgot, however, that I had sold it to a testing company that used it in a standardized reading test. Both were in print before the mistake was realized. What a mess! My point in all this is...CAN YOU BELIVE IT TOOK A PUBLISHER SIX YEARS TO SAY "YES"??????????.......

Jan Mader said...

PS...I'm going to follow you on my blog!

Would you encourage your writer friends to stop by and look at my post too...It will be a big help to me if this blog ever does go into print. Thanks so much!!!!

Suzanne said...

Oooh, something I know about...

Last year I submitted my ms on 2nd June and heard back on 12th July. Unfortunately, I didn't get a second read, but I did get a 5 page (single line spaced) report with sections titled 'setting', 'seduction', 'passion' and 'other bits and bobs'. I haven't read it recently, but I remember being quite pleased with it - constructive criticism hidden in among lots of encouragement and positive feedback.

The one drawback (again, digging deep into my memories of the past) was that I'd submitted the same ms the previous year and some of the amendments the first reader had suggested didn't go down too well with the second. I think this shows just how subjective the process can be (or else proves that I can't follow instructions properly). But it was terrific to get the opinions of experience writers and on the whole experience was a very positive one - despite the fact that I'm still unpublished (and I can't blame the RNA for that).

Well done you for getting your ms as far as the envelope. My ms (yes, the same one) is still sitting unattended in a corner. My plan is to dig out the last critique and give it one last go before moving onto something else. But I'm finding it hard to get to that point as I'm not quite ready to give up on the story yet.

Jackie Ashenden said...

Jan, selling the same book twice?? Wow!! And six years is ridiculous!

Lorraine, I can heartily agree with being sick of the ms! Leaving it to fester though is an excellent idea. I've just re-read my wip (EM) and having had a month away from it, it's actually better than I thought (no doubt I'll change my mind later) and I can see stuff to change that I couldn't before! Can you wait a while before you send?

Joanne Cleary said...

It's such a fantastic opportunity to get feedback isn't it? I think send it before you see something else you want to change. You've written it and edited it. If the usual turnaround time is the 6 weeks Suzanne's took you will have some great advice before you get too far in your new WIP.

I can't wait to get mine finished and off to the scheme. Imagine having someone whose work we read looking at ours (warning: crazy fan girl on the loose). It could be Liz Fielding or Kate Walker or Kate Hardy ...

Lucy King said...

I've submitted twice to the NWS (different stories) - both times a couple of days before the deadline. The reports took around 4-6 weeks to come back, from what I can remember. And when they did, they were fantastically helpful. Like Suzanne they were 5 single-spaced pages of stuff the reader liked and then points that didn't work and how to possibly sort them. Invaluable.

For what it's worth, when I was about to send my ms to my ed in December, I said I was still making changes, and she said not to worry, just send it in as it was possible to tweak forever (and sometimes end up overtweaking).

Lorraine said...

Jan - 6 six years is a long time. I'd love to get to the point where I forget I've sold a book!

Suzanne - thanks for filling me in, it does seem to be really good value for money. While i think it's quite possible that my later work is going to be better I'm hoping that the detailed report will highlight areas I need to work on. Sorry to be so long in thanking you for your comments - been a bit of an icky weekend :-(
Good luck with facing your next draft.

Jackie - it will probably fester for a bit anyway until I get my act together!

Jo - I admit to being excited by the possibility of being read by some of my favourite authors. Better still we might bump into some if we go to the RNA conference this summer.

Anyone else going to be at the conference? (You're going to have to switch hemispheres Jackie ;-)

Lucy - Thanks, it does seem to be a very quick turnaround. I agree that you could end up tweaking forever and in my case possibly keep on tweaking something that isn't suitable for publication. in which case I'd rather just find out and move on. I should have two new mss by next year so can always use the scheme again.

Romy said...

I'm hoping to go to this year's RNA conference but as I'm in South Africa it depends on if I get the fare together in time.

This is my first year in the NWS and I'm completely ignorant of how things work. Can anyone tell me if I can bring a non-RNA member friend along to the conference?

I still have just over 15k words to right on my NWS submission + edits and it's feeling like such a slog at the moment. I wonder if I'll ever get to "the end"?

Lorraine said...

Hi Romy - coming from South Africa sounds like a trek. It will be fun to bump into familiar internet faces there if people make it.

As it's my first year I'm not sure either - perhaps you could send an email to the organisers?

Good luck with the 'slog'. Have you actually finished the story but are short on your word count? I went through mine to up the emotional ante and added about 10 k!

Lucy King said...

I went to the RNA conference last year and it was well worth it. Not only was it great to meet other writers, published or otherwise, but you could also book a 15 min slot with an M&B editor, to pitch an idea or ask questions, or whatever. Don't know if they're doing that this year, but it was invaluable.

On the other hand I did turn into a stalkery fangirl type and corner poor Jill Mansell at the bar where I then gushed about how amazing I thought she and her books were. Admittedly I had had a few glasses of wine (and even better so had she) but still...