Well, I’ve finished my Manuscript Audit1—one of the tools I’m using to revise my novel. It’s a way to quickly evaluate a full manuscript without getting caught up in the details.

I didn’t find any major problems. Good, right?

I’m not so sure. Here are some of the reasons:

  • I may be blind to problems because I’m so familiar with the story that I’m filling in the gaps. So I don’t see the gaps.
  • I’ve never done a manuscript audit before. I’m not sure I’m doing it right.
  • Maybe there are major problems, but this technique didn’t catch them because it doesn’t look at every chapter.

I kept a chapter-by-chapter list of notes as I wrote, recording issues I was already aware of but not ready to deal with. So I know there are problems. What I don’t know is how deep these problems lie. I’m hoping the manuscript audit indicates that I’m not in for a major overhaul, but does it?

It’s so hard to feel confident in my judgment about something I’m doing for the first time. This is a big part of the reason I’m working with a coach. She’s seen books at this stage (whatever stage that may be) many times. Plus she’s objective about my story in a way I can’t be.

But I have to wait to find out what Jennie thinks. In a few days I’ll turn in my homework. Then later in July I’ll get her feedback.

Do you find it hard to judge your results when you’re trying something for the first time?

1Manuscript Audit is a tool developed by Jennie Nash to help her and other book coaches evaluate a writer’s manuscript. Jennie Nash is the founder of Author Accelerator, which matches writers with book coaches.

My work with Jennie is supported in part by the Maryland State Arts Council (msac.org).


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