I'm coming close to the end of a major rewrite of my manuscript. The next stage will be the job of selling it to a publisher and that's a whole new chapter.
So how do I feel at this stage? Sometimes I'm happy and proud of myself. Well, it's been a very long journey. The current manuscript is a major rewrite itself of a novel I wrote years ago. It has a similar premise but is actually totally different. This is partly because it was written and then saved on three floppy disks and the computer I wrote it on went west a long time ago and nobody wanted it. When I decided to have another go, because I thought it might work with a rewrite, I came to download the disk, the data had vanished. The same thing happened with the other two back-up copies. Duh. So I started from scratch...
Perhaps I should have let it stay lost.
But, it seemed to work better this time. As the new word-count mounted once more, and the characters and story took a different trajectory, I began to feel confident it was going to be so much better in every way. Maybe this would be published, after all. So I tweaked and polished until I felt it was ready to approach agents...
And, as is the way of these things, the process took some time and plenty of straight rejections until one lovely and plucky agent decided I was worth taking a punt on. And my confidence soared. I can do this, I thought. I may well get a publishing deal and I will be able to hold my head high and have no fear of the gainsayers, the doom-merchants and the downright hostile.
So the rewrites began. And as I ploughed through my manuscript, and despite the encouragement from the agent, my spirits began to dip. First of all, like a slow-incoming tide, the feeling crept up on me, that the resultant novel may not be the fabulous artefact I had envisaged when I began to write it, back when I was brimming with ideas and new characters. I've read the thing so many, many times now in its various shapes and guises that I can't see any freshness, any surprises, any delight. Had my euphoria been nothing more than over-confidence?
I'm a level-headed sort of person. I know that having a great agent behind one, doesn't guarantee a book-deal - especially in the straitened times we find ourselves in. And it's not as if I'm not prepared to start again. I already have a vague plot and at least two characters to create it and am keen to write more than the 1,000 words I have already.
But as for this one? Will it ever be published? And if so, will it sink without trace, thus scuppering any future chances?
The reason I mention this, is to ask you other writers, whether published or unpublished as yet, do you ever feel like this? Do you read a chapter one day and think, 'Mmm. That's not bad?' Or do you shake your head and mutter, 'Who on earth is going to want to read this crap?'
Confident or over-confident? Which one are you?