I have to tell you a horrible, dirty little secret. I haven't written or edited anything this last week (commence screams of terror!)! Okay, okay. That's not completely true. I posted a query and the first 250 words of this and that at WriteOnCon and edited them as suggestions rolled in (today's the last day, just so you know--a full rundown of what I learned will be up Monday). This is because of the state of my house. Still renovating, with all our stuff piled here and there. It's messing with our feng shui. So we've been painting, and painting . . .
Is this going somewhere, Mr. Paintbrush-For-Hands?
I hope so. Bear with me.
A thought crossed my find. The painting process. The drafting process. They really aren't so different!
For a proper paint job, you start with an unfinished surface. The first thing you do is put on a coat of primer. This protects the surface of whatever you're working on. But let me tell you what. It sticks. Seriously! It's like something crawled into a vat of paint thinner under the porch, soaked it up like a sponge, and died (the brand I used, at least--not this brand, but the name suits)!
(Warning: This Product is Killer!)
It doesn't look all that great when the surface is covered, either (I'm not a professional painter, mind you--but it's cheap). It leaves uneven spots and, again, makes the place reek (if you don't inhale too deeply, you'll be fine).Wait for it to dry. Then you put on a coat of paint. Hey. It smells better. Looks much better, too. However, there's still some spots I can see, after all those hours of toil and strain. I wait for it to dry, then put on a second coat. Fix a few things, do some interior decorating, believe in myself, and I can turn this...
(I wish that was my dining room...)
It doesn't matter who you are. You may have a great, original idea, but your finished draft (primer) will always stink. It can't be avoided. Wait for a week or two (dry) and go over your manuscript again (first coat of paint). This will improve your rough draft, but you might still find holes or areas that you're still not satisfied with. Wait a while again (dry) and go through it again (second coat). Tweak sentences, add some description where needed, believe in yourself, and you can turn this...
(Insert jacket/cover art/title of choice)
This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. Writing is a job. It takes work. The more you do it, the more proficient you will be. Ginger Clark, a literary agent for Curtis Brown, LTD., wrote this post as part of the WriteOnCon lineup. She stressed heavily the importance of proofreading and revising in the submissions process, even before you begin to even think about querying!
This is truly great advice, my friends. I recommend you click it, read it, believe in yourself, and put on a coat.
I'm David, and my hands are multi-colored!