Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Closing Chapter

By Martha Reed

I’ve been working steadily on my manuscript, keeping my eye on the prize, an agent pitch session next week at the PennWriters Conference in Lancaster, PA. Getting a book published is so much harder and so much more work than just crafting a story – there are all these supplemental documents you need to create: the perfect pitch, a synopsis, an enticing query letter and an outline. But all these support documents need to be in place on the off chance that lightening might strike and you might actually need them.

But first and foremost, and what you read about all the time, is that you need to have completed your manuscript. Not an outline; not the tentative first 100 pages; the whole damn thing from soup to nuts. And I’m happy to report that I have.

Of course, it was a little odd to cruise into Chapter 30 and suddenly realize that I was two pages away from finishing my novel, mostly because I’ve been so dedicated to it and working on it for so long that to be faced suddenly with an ending came as a bit of a surprise. I paused and took a look at my text and agreed that yes, this was the ending and here I was, done.

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(You probably have to be an old slag typesetter to know what that symbol means but I was one so I can use it).

The wacky thing is that within the next ten minutes I was already casting ahead for the next outline. You would think that with all this tremendous effort behind me I would want to take a break, but no, I find the opposite is true. Sure, I still need to edit this one but I’m already anticipating getting started on the next.

I hope that’s a good thing! Wish me luck...

13 comments:

Annette said...

You go, girl.

See you next week at the conference!

Pat Remick said...

Yay -- and congrats!!!

ramona said...

What's that joke? The End--For Now

Good job, Martha. Now warm up that pitching arm.

Gina said...

Good luck, Martha!

Jennie Bentley said...

Congratulations! Yeah, you need to edit, but it's not a bad idea to take a break and work on something else for a few weeks before you do. So if you want to get started on the next outline, go right ahead. The farther you get your head from the book you just finished, the easier it is to go back to it and read it with a fresh eye later. Good luck, with the editing and pitching!

Joyce said...

Bente, I'm glad to see you're not under water! How are things where you live?

Martha Reed said...

Jokes on me! I continued outlining the new book on the bus this morning.

Why stop? The dust bunnies are happy.

Laurissa said...

Congratulations, Martha! See you at the conference.

Patg said...

Martha,
Have you any idea how lucky you are to have that outline all ready in your head?
Work it for all its worth, and you may just find that it will help you edit the first one--if it is a sequel.
Good luck.
Patg

Wilfred Bereswill said...

What Jennie said.

It's really hard to edit what's fresh in your mind.

Good job on finishing.

Martha Reed said...

Thank you all for your comments!

I am so looking forward to the Conference next week - and I hope to see you there.

M Pax said...

I keep going, too. Otherwise, I get bored. :)

Congrats! I'm doing the meets in August here in Oregon. Gah!

Ayleen said...

Woohoo! Congratuations, Martha. And good luck at the conference. (Do writers even have a version of "Break a leg"?)