Thursday, June 24, 2010


Last week in Texas, one of my students asked how you know it's time to let go of a manuscript. I think I answered with, "You don't. You simply do the best you can, polish the best you can, and let it go."

I've just finished THE FINE ART OF INSINCERITY--we've gone through five drafts, one major revision, and we still have to go through copyedits. But for the most part, the bulk of the work is done.

Even though my editor said, "In my nineteen years of editing I have never sent a substantive review back with essentially NO big-issue rewrite suggestions. Never. Until now." (Thanks, Traci!), I still rewrote several passages and made dozens of small tweaks. What is good can always be made better, but is it the best it can be?

And since I sent the manuscript in this afternoon, I've been badgered by the usual thoughts: was there enough emotion? Is the spiritual message clear? Are the characters all I meant them to be? I'll watch a movie on TV, get caught up in the emotion, shed a bucket of tears and think, "Will my story make a reader cry like this?"

But after all the polishing, the editorial comments, the revising, and the prayers, there comes a time when you have to trust your gut and release your baby. Send him off to finishing school or let that bird fly--you can pick your favorite metaphor.

But it never gets easier, and I don't think I'll ever stop second-guessing myself. All I can do is resolve that if this one isn't perfect, I'll take the lessons I've learned and apply it to the next one, in the hope that it will be even better.

Fly, little bird, fly.

I have to go sit on a nest.



Anonymous said...

Love your candor ... you are such an inspiration! Clyde

Loretta Oakes said...

Thanks, Angie, you always simplify it for me!

Mocha with Linda said...

I've been wondering what your next book will be. When will it be out?

Anonymous said...

Just so you know your books do make me cry like a baby. The Note for one. And they are always very good books.

Kay Day said...

Is this the "Grandma Gene" one with a new name or a different one altogether?