Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Your Life in Their Hands

What is the hardest part about writing a novel? Is it coming up with original settings, realistic characters, spellbinding plotlines and unexpected gasp inducing twists? Pah! I say. Pah again!

The hardest part of writing a novel is the waiting.

It's when you've finished the manuscript to the point where you can't do any more on your own. You've lost count of which draft you're up to and you've read it so many times you can (literally) quote it in your sleep. You're at the point where you can't even open a page and glance at a sentence without feeling a sense of dejavu induced nausea. Then - you send it off to a professional assessor, tucking a block of snow-white ink-smelling A4 paper into an envelope and handing it to a bored looking man behind the Australia Post counter. You walk out, blinking in the sunshine, dusting off your hands.

Then you wait.

My wait has lasted 1 week and 5 days, and counting. I'm told by the assessor that the average turnaround time for a manuscript is 6 weeks. 6 weeks???? I have a horrible suspicion that the assessor reads the manuscript and writes the review in half a day, then leaves it on the shelf for 5 weeks, 6 days and 4 hours before posting it off, just to make you feel you got your money's worth. Could people really be so cruel?

And of course when it does finally come and I hold that package in my hand I may not want to open it. Inside will be the comments - an objective, informed, educated reader has read my book and told me what she honestly thinks.

Now there's a scary thought to take my mind off the waiting.

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