Read an Excerpt
Introduction by Therese Walsh
After I got my publishing deal, the question I received most often from not-yet-published authors was this: How did you do it?
The pithy answer? You put your butt in a chair and write.
Don't you want to punch that answer in the face? It's like hearing someone with great hair say that she simply rolls out of bed in the morning and fluffs it a little. You know she has a cabinet filled with gels and sprays and various antifrizz products, but she doesn't want to share her secrets or admit to the mirror time required. She just wants you to admire the final product.
Well, butt in chair is only part of the story, and the least fantastical part at that. So let's try again.
How did you do it?
I spent several years writing and editing a version of the manuscript that would become my debut novel, but it wouldn't become my debut until after I gutted all of that polished prose. I tore the story to the ground and then built it back up with a new (more innovative) structure, new (shades-of-gray) characters, new (layered) storylines, and a new (stronger) voice. I finished the manuscript for a second time, and that version is what finally sold. The "formula," in broad strokes, was this:
- Receive feedback with an open mind.
- Improve myself to improve my story.
The purpose of Author in Progress is to answer those questions. This book offers guidance for the evolution of your manuscript and for yourself as a writer. We'll walk you through the stages every novelist must face, whether you want to obtain a traditional publishing deal or self-publish, and we'll introduce you to the stumbling blocks you might encounter before writing, while writing, when asking for feedback or seeking instruction, through rewriting, and beyond.