How is a manuscript like a rock?

Manuscripts like rocks?

On the weekend, the boys and I went on camp. One of our tasks was to find an object while on a walk that somehow represented us.

I picked up an interesting stone, one that had only been half smoothed by the sea. It also had a number of cracks and flecks to it. Unfortunately I didn’t take my camera with me and I left the rock at camp or I would have put a photo of it in this post.

It represented me in a number of deep ways that I won’t go in to here. However it got me thinking that my current manuscript was a lot like that rock. Before you think I have rocks in my head, or am completely sleep deprived from camp, let me explain.

My rock wasn’t perfect. The sides weren’t all smooth and round and it was no good for skimming across the water. However it was a work in progress. If I had left it on the beach, the sand and water would have continued to smooth it out. This is a lot like my current manuscript. It isn’t perfect. With every round of edits, more rough bits get smoothed out to turn it into a book that is worthy of publication.

My rock had a lot of interesting colours in it. I like to think that my story has interesting characters and action to make it interesting for people to read. I know that when I read it through the other day without doing any major edits, I found it enjoyable with characters I both loved and disliked.

I have no idea how long my rock was sitting on the beach, but one side of it had been smoothed by the sand and sea. It is a slow process to smooth a rock and can take many, many years. To have a perfectly shaped rock, you need to be patient, especially if you are waiting for the sea to do it. I’m hoping it doesn’t take quite that long to smooth my manuscript into shape, but that is still a slow process and I need to be patient.

I’m wishing that I had taken my rock with me, to remind me that my manuscript is a work in progress and that every round of edits works a lot like sand and water on a rock, shaping it in to a perfect shape. Not only that, but it does take time. There’s no point in rushing the process and releasing a book that is any less than the best I can do. I need to be patient and remember that every round of edits is smoothing and shaping my book to be the best it can possibly be.

There are my musings about a manuscript and a rock that did come out of my sleep deprived state following a long weekend at camp.

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