The Ride (2): Temptation to Tinker

Just over two weeks until, technically, I’m contracted to get my finished, perfected, beautified, crystal-clear, singingly poetic manuscript to Cranachan.

I have done the basics – formatting, check. Replacing double-quotation marks with single, check. Addressing minor inconsistencies, check. Re-writing a particular character for structural reasons, check.

And yet, something niggles and wiggles at the back of my brain, gaining ground: the realisation that I will be judged by this manuscript. Come autumn, Fir for Luck will be out there for people to see, to read and to make up their own minds about. It will be out there (gulp!) for people to review and dissect.

Cue panic! I dug around in long-forgotten computer files to find any piece of feedback I have ever received on this manuscript from my fantastic MG critique group in Edinburgh. What did they find confusing? What concerns did they raise? What phrase jarred, what seemed out of place, what did they wish for more of?

I’ve set myself the challenge: this weekend I’ll read through all of these, and through the revised manuscript, too. I’ll give this weekend over to tinkering, and then I’ll stop! After all, over-tinkering could make it worse, couldn’t it? Is it like a drawing: close up it doesn’t seem up to much, but once you step away a bit, it shines?

Let’s hope this will be the case with my book, my calling card as a writer.

Let’s hope I’ll know when I’ve done enough.

When to step away.

Hang on, let me just fix this little thing here…


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