Letting Go of Manuscripts, or Not

On Monday, I spent three and a half hours poring over the last three chapters of my 7th Casey Holland mystery. It’s one of the many times I’ve gone through this book. I’ve stepped up the final tweaking over the past two weeks because I know I’ll be uploading the book this week to Amazon and other sites. But I’m finding it difficult to let go of this one, and it worries me a little. I might be turning into more of a perfectionist than I want to be. I’ve reached the stage where I’m changing a few words back to what they were before, a sure signal that it’s time to move on.

To be honest, my unwillingness to let this novella go might be because this could well be my last Casey mystery. There are a number of reasons for this, but the primary one is that I’m eager to explore new characters and concepts in different series and genres. It’s tough because I’ve been with Casey for many years and have file folders containing notes for future books. Whether I write another installment will depend on how this one is received.

As some of you know, I’ve been writing an urban fantasy for some time, and the feedback from my critique group will be completed in a few weeks. I’ve also been working on the query letter and synopsis. At 120,000+ words, which still needs paring down, I just don’t see myself self-publishing something that large. Since I’m in no rush to publish, I’d like to venture back into traditional publishing, however we’ll see how it goes. I might think differently a year from now.

Speaking of letter go, about three years ago, I wrote the first draft of another novella mystery. The first two books were published with a small press that has now folded and again, I’m deciding whether to let this series go, or re-read the first draft to see if I should continue on.

Also, several months ago, I began outlining a new paranormal series that incorporates both mystery and fantasy, and I’ve been wondering what to do about that as well. As you can see, this writer’s life could either turn into a productive hot mess or even fizzle away, depending on my decisions.

Happily, with a new grandbaby arriving in a few days and a home reno project about to start, there’s plenty of things to keep me from constantly fretting over writing decisions. I do believe that everything will sort itself out. The goal is to be happy with my choices. It’s just a matter of deciding what fits best with short and long-term goals.

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Author: debrapurdykong

I'm a British Columbia author who's been writing for over 30 years. My volunteer experiences, criminology diploma, and security work inspired me to write the Casey Holland transit security novels set in Metro Vancouver. I'm also a part-time facilitator in Creative Writing Workshops through Port Moody's Recreation program. Feel free to contact me at dpurdykong@gmail.com

9 thoughts on “Letting Go of Manuscripts, or Not”

  1. I think as writers we always have many ideas floating around. I have often said I won’t write any more Amanda stories and then a great idea pops up and away I go. I too am ready for something different but you never know. Exciting times are ahead for you and your family. Here is something my potter daughter once said, “Things don’t have to be perfect, things have to get done!”. I’m sure the book is as good as it can be.

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    1. Thank you, Darlene, and I love your daughter’s words. She’s absolutely right. I think it’s important for me not to lock myself into one idea or path, but to be open to whatever works best at the time.

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    1. I know, right? When I was full of energy back in late June and excited about everything, planning all this seemed easy. I’m still excited but the reality is that I’m juggling a lot for this month and for the first half of Sept. It will all be worth it, but it takes effort to stay on top of everything.

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  2. I did the same thing recently—changed a short chapter that I had already shared, then changed it back to its original form. I think it’s great you have another paranormal idea forming. Something new and different can be rejuvenating.

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  3. I am amazed how much you have going on! So many ideas–I could never hold all of those in memory. How DO you decide what to move forward with? I was struck by your comment–“I’m changing a few words back to what they were before, a sure signal that it’s time to move on”. I just went through that with my latest Lucy book. I couldn’t reach a point of comfort with the story until I realized that (like you) was what I was doing. It is now off at the editors!

    Looking forward to your new book, Debra.

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  4. Your mind sure is busy, Debra. Like most authors, probably. But you, literally, have put pen to paper with so many projects. I wish it was as easy as “let’s do what feels good.” But writing a fun passion, your good and fluent at it, and you make things happen!

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