I just received second-round edits for my soon-to-be published middle grade novel, SWALLOWED BY A SECRET (publication date January 2020). After this set of changes, it is the end of Revision/Major Edits Road, a scary place where you have to say goodbye forever to the chance to make one more substantive changes in your manuscript. Of course, there will still be some proof reading but only for wayward commas, missing quotation marks or a horrifying auto-correct spelling mishap.
So, for now, I will reread the book one more time from start to finish (joke here probably more than once) which I’ve already done countless times since the first draft. It’s a wonder I can’t recite the whole thing from memory. After I read, I will instruct my computer to read the text while I follow along with my eyes glued to the document, ready to pounce on even the slightest imperfection.
And that’s the point. Is perfection possible? Every time I read it, I find something I want to change. This is not unique to me. At some point, it is time to stop and send out that query.
Recently, an author confessed to me he had found a major problem in one sentence on his final reading. That was enough to give him sleepless nights worrying about what else might’ve escaped his careful eye. So, he reread the entire document again just in case. Nothing was amiss and off it went.
And this is my only comfort. Authors I’ve talked to or engaged with on Facebook or Twitter experience these feelings. They worry someone, even one person, might find a mistake.
An already published writer calmed my nerves, reassuring me that small errors will not cause the reader indigestion. Readers want to pour themselves into the plot, ponder the themes and become best friends with the characters. I hope that will be true for my readers and that I’ll capture their imaginations through the story, and if there’s a typo or a missing word, all will be forgiven.
But for now, I will read through this manuscript again.