Tag Archives: first draft manuscript

Critique Time

15 Oct


What a long hiatus from Blogsville! Three months later, my manuscript has finally made it into the hands of an esteemed critiquer for an evaluation. My heart is in my mouth, finally.

When I finished my first draft manuscript in April, I was sure that 2 months away from it – away from the pages & pages and chapters of words that had poured from me relentlessly over 3 months – would give me adequate time to switch off from the story itself.  It had been all-consuming. My thinking was that a  good break would allow me to stand back from the project, allow the manuscript to breath and then, hopefully I would be able to  read it objectively.

Read-through 1 & 2 still evoked the same raw, intense emotions within me that I felt when I was writing it. Reading it still evoked deep emotional responses, almost like I was still living through what I had written. I cried at some parts and became emotionally distressed after reading other parts. I wasn’t ready yet, that was for sure.

By mid summer, I was ready to throw the entire thing out the window, and my laptop along with it. Then my laptop died. I was sure this was a sign to leave the manuscript to rest longer. I hated most of what I wrote and cringed when I read most of the early chapters while the rest was in disarray.

On the third reading of the manuscript, I abandoned the task mid-way through in exasperation. Who was I kidding, I thought, I can’t write.  The 350 printed-out pages that represented my blood, sweat and tears where then stuffed into a box and forcefully shoved into the dark under the bed. I wasn’t anyway close to being ready.

Another month later, I tried again. By chapter 19, I wanted to cut half of what I wrote out of sheer frustration. Back into the box. It was then I decided to switch off completely – I didn’t read, I didn’t watch movies, I didn’t write, I just lived. I forgot about the manuscript under my bed and just enjoyed the late summer months of festivals, BBQ’s and long summer evenings.

‘One day’ my friend said around late August, ‘it will all just become words on a page.’ Would it I thought? Would I ever get to a point where I could read my manuscript past all the emotional connection – read it without reliving everything?

Five months after I finished the first draft manuscript and when eventually all the fear had finally passed, I pulled the box out from under the bed. I got myself a glass of red wine. took a deep breath and began to read. What I found was a story that was real, a story that was from the heart and a story that moved me. Some parts were awful, some parts surprised me but some parts struck me so forcefully that I know I would not be able to write them now. Had I reached that place where I could read it outside myself?

The break had worked it seemed, as I was finally was able to see the story for what it was – a work in progress. And I was excited again and that can only be a good thing. After a few weeks work on rewriting and editing, my first draft was finally ready to be torn apart.

Now I just have to wait for my editors letter….and start all over again!




Main Image via here


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