That first manuscript

31 07 2013

Then it happens.  Years have passed, hours of solitude beyond measure, living in your own head.  You have tied off the final loose end, your (anti) heroine has achieved her aims, the final fact has been checked against more than one reference source. It’s finished.  A full draft of your first book.  You’ve proof read it again and again and it looks fine.  You know there will be oodles more typos to spot but this is it.  Add the header detail and page numbers, do a final spell check, open the window and set preferences.

Then. Press. Print.

Go boil a kettle – your home printer always takes longer than the one at work or down at the printers.

Then you have it in your hand. Your first manuscript. What the hell do you do now?

I remember doing all that. I printed it. It just sat there on the table I used as a desk back then, with a bulldog clip holding it together.  It was bigger than I’d expected and that was before I printed it single sided for sending off my publisher. I remembered exactly how I felt.

I ignored it. So I could pretend it wasn’t there I put a copy of the newspaper over it. It became a newsprint lump to try to ignore. I was pretending I didn’t have a piece of life, of mind hiding in those pages.

Who to read it first? I didn’t let anyone see it, not even a page. A big part of me was tempted to send it off before I even let my friends read it – is it right that I should prefer scorn and rejection from a stranger than from those closest to me?

But it wasn’t mine any more. That’s the point. Give birth and let it find its own place in the world. It really was an education, long sought.