How many times have you edited a manuscript that you believed in?
I have one story that I’ve totally rewritten or edited/polished at least 20 times. Yes, 20. The first time was immediately after I finished it. The story topped out at 120,000 words. Don’t ask me why it was so long. I have no idea. But I knew it had to be shorter. So, I cut 20,000 words. Then, it was rejected by an editor. She gave me some fantastic suggestions, and I tore it apart again. This time the “finished” product was 86,000 words. Then I did it again , and again, and again…you get the picture. Eventually, the finished manuscript turned out to be 63,000 words and hardly any of those original 120,000 words even remain. But the best thing is that the story keeps getting better with each rewrite, and I fall even more in love with the story.
A few weeks ago there was an article on Yahoo from the writer of THE HELP regarding her obsession about “fixing” her story when she got rejections, which she got 60 of them before signing with an agent. I have to admit I’m the some way.
How about you? Do you keep fixing your stories, or do you just shove them away after so many times being rejected?