But hold your horses there. It is, and I hate to tell you this, extremely unlikely that your book is ready to be seen unescorted and out alone yet. It, like a three year old, may appear to be perfectly functional in all ways, but is still incapable of crossing a road or whipping up a cheese souffle. In fact, you may discover that it isn't even a proper book, but we can sort that out in the edits.
Firstly - put it away. Honestly. Somewhere you can't see it or smell it. A locked box in the bottom of a filing cabinet (you can put a sign on the door saying 'Beware of the Leopard' if it makes you feel more comfortable). At least six weeks should do it.
|If you understand this reference, you are My Kind of People|
When a decent length of time has passed, withdraw the book and sit down with a big red pen (or highlights open on your computer) a bar of chocolate and the curtains drawn. DO NOT tell people what you are doing. They will Ask Questions, which is very offputting. Now read through your book again, and make notes as you go (hint, if you want to know how bad things really are, do a word search through your manuscript for little modifiers like 'just' . Once you've passed the 200 mark you can scream if you want). Remember what I said about your characters having to grow and change? And every word moving the action on or developing the characters? Be honest now, can you really say that they do? Do you have four page descriptions of locations (or, even worse, clothes)?
And then, sit back, and think 'why should the reader care about this?'
Now, eat the chocolate. You can despair a bit, if you like, it's natural. You are also allowed to think you've written the worst book ever in the history of books, and that's including that four page illustrated 'Store of The Heghog' you wrote when you were seven.
|'A captivating tale of nature' - your mum|
Now, quick. Make notes. Capture those 'somethings' that stood out for you. Circle them if you have to. Scribble all over your page (it's easier if you've printed it out for this bit, we've all ruined lots of laptops doing this). You will end up with things like 'why did she say this here? Why not earler?' and 'where's the caravan gone?' and, if your handwriting is like mine 'habble flib con not won argon'. Which you can decipher later.
What you will end up with is lots of coloured circles, post it notes stuck on, chocolate stains, scribble, tear-stains, turned down corners and a notebook where you have, hopefully, written ideas. Oh, and lots of chocolate wrappers.
But the main things is - you've got something to work with. And, if I don't get distracted, next week I shall help you with that.