Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Polishing the Manuscript

Is one ever done tweaking their manuscript? Probably not. But at some point one has to back away from the minutiae and let someone else have a run at it.

That was the first step to be addressed as I geared up for e-pubbing—except I let two someones have a run at it. I needed someone who hadn't seen the story before take a hard look at the content. Since I've taken classes from Mary Buckham, believe her to be genius, and know she has an editing service I contacted her. Luckily for me, she was able to fit my manuscript into her schedule.

When Mary was done with it, I passed it along to a woman I know who has spent many years as a copy editor, and—

What I want to know is if you were able to do something about Juliet.

Uh, hi, Jonathan. Folks, this is Jonathan Woods—Thea's boyfriend. I didn't know you were going to stop by.

I had some time in my schedule and need to talk to you.

I'm kind of busy right now explaining the self-publishing process to these nice people.

This is important. Juliet is creating potential problems for Thea. I need you to write her out of the story.

Sorry, no can do. She's important, and she's Thea's sister. Besides, the manuscript has already been to the editors. What's the problem, anyway?

I'm certain Juliet has been trying to get Thea to break up with me. Thea's been arguing, uncharacteristically, with my decisions lately.  I have plans, Susan, and Juliet is getting in the way.

I'm not so sure Juliet has that much influence—

She does. She fabricates stories, she's disrespectful, and she interferes. There's something going on, and as I stated, I have plans.

What plans?

I won't divulge them. Suffice it to say Thea will be delighted. I have a certain influence, shall we say?

You sound awfully sure of yourself.

Just make sure Juliet is out of the way.

Now, Jonath—dang. The guy pops in, issues orders and pops out. Characters do tend to do what they want, and generally I don't worry, but he seems a bit like he's on a mission and I can't help but think there's going to be trouble. Phooey. I'm going to need to find out what he's up to. We'll continue the self-pub thing next week. Wish me luck.


  1. Susan, I love reading about your journey. Tell Jonathan to put a sock in it. :) Just kidding. I think it's interesting the way your characters pop in on you. Mine do that at odd times as well. I guess it's an occupational hazard.

  2. LOL! Characters certainly seem to do what they want. They are apt to remind me that what I do affects them directly, so they're entitled to their opinions. Evidently they've got their own agendas, too!!

  3. Cute post, Susan. My characters usually talk to each other rather than to me, which is handy. I just sit and take dictation. You have a very uppity character there!

  4. Thanks, Kaye! My characters haven't always talked to me, but once they did they refused to stop! Yes, Jonathan is more than a bit high-handed, and I'm afraid his opinion of himself far exceeds reality. He's going to get himself (and likely someone else) into a whole passel of trouble if he keeps on!

  5. Susan, that first paragraph is me. Now that I'm doing my own editing, I'm never satisfied. When I had editors to second-guess me, I'd just give them a first draft and say, "Tell me what's wrong with it."

    I hear editors don't tolerate that anymore....

  6. Great blog!

    It's always annoying having our characters break through the Fourth Wall and boss us around!

  7. I think there's only so much self-editing you can do, Norma. What's in your head gets in the way of what's on the page until someone comes along and points it out to us.

  8. Thanks, William. I can't seem to keep them away, and every last one of them tries to tell me what to do. You'd think I'm nothing but a simple scribe!