Summer Tinkering

I finished my second draft of DEATH BET this week. Does that mean it’s ready to go to my agent?

Heck no!

I’ll be tinkering with it for another week at least before I send it anywhere and then it’s going to Kristine, my first reader. She’s the first person to get the entire manuscript, chapters one through twenty-three, in one big chunk to be read beginning to end.

Kristine is a fellow crime writer and a sibling or sorts. We both belong to the Mary Roberts Rinehart Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She will look at my work through the eyes of someone who knows about mysteries and plots and characterization.

After I get it back with her notes on what worked and didn’t work, I’ll be back to tinkering. From there I have another group of readers who will look at it from their perspectives as a teacher, a veterinarian, and a horsewoman. The veterinarian’s wife also gets to read it and she’s great at the line edit.

Once those copies come back to me with notes scribbled in the margins, I get to tinker one more time. Then—and only THEN—will it be ready to go to my agent.

I’m looking a period of a few weeks when my manuscript will be out of my hands and in the hands of my readers. What will I do with myself during those spans of time?

My house needs cleaned. The clutter has become overwhelming. The yard and gardens have been overrun with weeds. Those will get my attention at some point. I’ve also been neglecting friends. Time to plan some lunch dates that have been postponed for too long.

But I will also be writing. I have an essay started with a submission deadline looming. I have one short story that needs a quick edit before getting it back in the submission pipeline. And I have several other short stories started, or ideas jotted on sticky notes, that need to be finished. There’s an idea for an article wandering aimlessly in my brain. I need to send out a query to learn if the editor of Pennsylvania Magazine thinks it’s a good fit for them or do I need to find another publication that might like it.

My checkbook is in desperate need of balancing, too.

Ah, heck. It’s summer. Maybe I’ll take a week and do less tinkering and more relaxing. Sit on the front porch swing with some lemonade and a good book. Take the bikes to Ohiopyle for a day at the river. Drag the camper to Erie for a weekend on the lake.



Kristine said…
I'm thrilled and honored to be your first reader. I can't wait to start reading what I know will be a great manuscript.

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