Manuscripts, Mortal Peril and Pasta

This is my first post for GHB, and I’m really pleased to have been asked to join the team! I did do a guest blog ages ago (you can find it here if you want), but if you don’t know me I’ve written the Small Blue Thing trilogy. I finished that a while back and this year I’ve been mostly writing about a whole new set of characters.

Two weeks ago I sent the first draft of my new book to my editor, then sat back to gnaw my nails. It’s a scary business, submitting a manuscript. What if they don’t enjoy the story? What if they don’t think it’s original enough? What if they (deep breath) pour scorn on your efforts? However many books you’ve written, and however successful they’ve been, I’m sure that we all still have that moment of self doubt.

So I waited for the email. My editor wanted to discuss her response over lunch but I asked for the ‘big picture’ comments first. These are the sorts of comments like ‘London is a great setting for this book, but I think Paris would be a more compelling location’, or ‘Have you considered making your champion gymnast a beginner at horse-riding instead?’, or even ‘This is a wonderful story about a dog, but I think it would be better if it was about mouse’ and you realise six more months of research and re-writing is going to be needed. As I waited for that email I chewed my nails again. The email came and I stomped around and shouted at the dog and stomped around some more. Finally I read the email more slowly and realised that, as usual, my editor was right, and I needed to change some bits. Luckily I get to keep London, but some other things will change, and actually the book will be better for it.

We had a great lunch and over pasta discussed ways in which I could put my main character in mortal peril (which caused quite a few raised eyebrows from the people sitting at the next table).  I’m looking forward to telling you more about the book in the next few months!
Which brave person do you get to review your stories? And shall I drop my MC off a tall building?

18 thoughts on “Manuscripts, Mortal Peril and Pasta

  1. Hi Sue! Welcome to Girlsheartbooks! I am at the waiting for feedback stage too – its a horrible feeling like waiting for a jury to condemn or free you. its so good when someone you trust gives you constructive feedback

  2. I’ve just submitted To publishers for the first time, so good to hear even seasoned writers don’t enjoy the waiting – although I’m Stoically prepared for either nothing or rejection. Anything else would be a huge boon…

  3. Howdy Sue,
    I read your post and then laughed aloud thinking that could have been me writing it! Like you, I’m sweating bullets waiting for an editor’s decision on my life – well, more like the life of my characters in the first book away from my standing series. This will be for my 8th book and it never seems to get easier. I still ask – ‘Why do we do this to ourselves???’ I’d say for love, but not while you are waiting for the axe to fall!

    I wish you, and all my fellow writers luck in surviving that agonizing wait…

  4. Hi Laura! Thanks for commenting. If there’s no-one at home to read it, try putting your story up on one of the writing sites – I’m sure there will be plenty of friendly people there. Good luck!

    • Hi Molly, just keep an eye on our Competitions page! We run book giveaways all the time – sometimes they’re connected with the guest blogs and we always have one at the end of each month (except December – sorry!). Thanks for dropping by!

    • Hi Lyn, that depends on a lot of things. Most publishers are really busy, so it can take a while. If you have submitted your manuscript as requested in their guidelines, there should be an indication in there about how long they take, so do check. If they have taken longer than they suggest, send them a short email with the date of the original submission and ask when you might hear. Good luck!

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