This weekend I made a beautiful snow angel and took a picture to show you how perfect it was. What do you think of it?
Yeah, the lighting is a little off, but it was cloudy out and I didn’t know how to adjust the focus on the camera. And I suppose it would be easier to see if I did something to make it stand out a little more—white on white doesn’t really show up very well. But trust me, it’s awesome.
Whoops, I forgot to photoshop out those dead leaves on her left wing before posting my picture. I centered it pretty good, though. And the part at the bottom looks like it might be the bottom of her dress billowing out instead of a mess-up. (It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be able to jump straight up without help like I used to 20 years ago, but I don’t think it’s too obvious that I had to crawl to level ground before I could get up. In fact, I think it looks better this way. 😉 )
Ok, in all seriousness, the snow angel is a lot like my novel. I jumped into it without thinking about how it would end, didn’t prepare myself to deal with the problems with the premise—despite the fact they were so obvious that my children pointed them out to me. There are some minor flaws in an otherwise terrific story, and it will be a tricky job to get rid of them. But it is still an awesome story, at least in my mind. On paper, I’m not so sure.
However, there are a few things I DO know:
1. I need to fix little things that will distract readers, like poor grammar; inconsistencies in the plot, setting, or characters; “dead leaves” that don’t move the story forward or add to it in a significant way.
2. Trying to disguise a mess-up instead of fixing it is not going to improve my story. To look perfect, it must be perfect—or as close as I’m capable of making it.
3. Thinking ahead, doing a little research before writing about a subject I’m not already familiar with, and asking for help when I need it will make things easier and save me time in the long run.
4. To get anyone to read my manuscript, I’m going to have to showcase it to make it appear attractive and interesting. That means it must be properly formatted, professional in tone, and include a query letter that captures the awesomeness of the story.
5. Agents and editors don’t have the time or inclination to figure out what’s wrong with my story. That’s my job.
6. When it’s done, it will be as beautiful as a snow angel.
What metaphor would fit your work-in-progress? When’s the last time you made a snow angel?