Win a free manuscript evaluation?


How to put this? The writer in me says I should just start typing, so I do. The editor in me wants to censor cut alter edit.

I’ve been writing for a long time, and I’ve been my own editor for just as long: Term papers, essays, short fiction, letters, poems, newspaper and magazine articles, corporate newsletters, press releases, blog entries and now novels. I stopped counting years ago, at a million words. I’ve also edited the works of others. I’m not “proud” of it. It’s just what I do. (It’s similar, but not the same, as the color of my skin: what did I have to do with it?)

So when a fellow writer announces a manuscript evaluation contest, as Laura M. Talley does on her site, I hesitate.

Yes, I know the value that someone else can bring to my writing. Other perspectives and all that. But my novel isn’t finished, and I wonder: Will someone else’s perspective be a help or a hindrance?

What if she likes it? Will that change my own view of the unfinished work? Will I become satisfied with sections that I know need more work?

What if she doesn’t like it? (My authorial ego says “fat chance” but that’s a boatload of carp.) Will that discourage me, or cause me to work harder? Will I respond by re-analyzing parts of the story that were long ago put to bed?

But forget all that. The fact that I’m writing this blog post means I’ve already decided. I’m in. So, Ms. Talley, this post is worth two extra entries, right?


3 thoughts on “Win a free manuscript evaluation?

  1. Yes, indeed, 2 entries! And don’t worry about the liking/not liking it. What I do is basic proofreading while I read over it, then I have a list of things I’ll go over: strengths and weaknesses. This helps me help writers who write in genres other than mine or who may write things I don’t entirely “get”. Instead of saying, “Your book rocks!” or “Your book sucks!” I say things like, “Your characters are incredibly strong” or “The plot structure could use a little work.” Just to give some new eyeballs to it!

    • Thanks for the note. 🙂 After almost four years, and several major rewrites, the book is almost done. I can’t afford any more major changes in structure. Not that anyone should care, but I’m just a tad worried about my own reaction to whatever input I receive before I put it to bed.

      One impetus to write the book was a series of crushing disasters in my personal life that took years to overcome. Even now, I use those memories in my writing. Just a few minutes ago, I wrote this:

      “The order made no sense. Jens felt a surge of exasperation at the spite which always seemed to accompany Bruggeman’s authority. The surge become a torrent, and Jens opened his mouth to unleash it on the smug assistant, but two armed escorts stepped forward like belligerent leashed Rottweilers. He capped his rage with a supreme effort of will, bowed slightly and said nothing.”

      The “Rottweilers” are a bit much, I think…

      Anyhoo, thanks for putting on the contest. New eyeballs are good.

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