Work in Progress #5: A Masterpiece! (Or…Not)

CNW Bagel ShopLast Friday I came to the halfway point of my young adult biography. I finished chapter 5. I decided to go back and read the whole thing from the beginning. After focusing on words, sentences, and paragraphs for so long, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the Work as a Whole. Or, at least, at The Work as a Half.

So I started from page one and read. Amazingly, I liked what I was reading. I even loved what I was reading! It seemed…good. In fact, it seemed like a veritable masterpiece. I was glowing. The world was wonderful, my family was wonderful, all of life was wonderful. I printed it out so I could see how it looked on paper.

I told my husband he needed to listen to me read it aloud and he did his best to look excited. I finally cornered him on Sunday afternoon. He sat in one chair, I sat in another. And I read.

By the first page I felt as if this were a different manuscript from the one I’d read to myself just two days earlier. This one was long-winded, disjointed, and downright boring in quite a few spots. I kept reading and it didn’t get any better. I was sorely tempted to throw my sorry typed pages in the trash.

But I didn’t. I’ve been here before with other pieces. I decided that what I have is neither a masterpiece nor a piece of junk but merely a manuscript that has possibilities and needs a lot of work (even though I thought hard about each and every word that went down on each and every page as you will hear in my next blog!). I’m not going to work any more on the first half now. There will be time for major revisions. Now I need to push forward.

So I made a few notes at the top of each chapter about what needs attention and I moved on…

…to chapter 6.