Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Manuscript mess

I'm not sure how I allowed this to happen. But, somewhere in the midst of revising, cutting, chopping, and rebuilding, my manuscript, I accidently chopped out about 20 years of my subject's life. And I sent the manuscript to the editor in this condition. This 20 years is one of the most important aspects of the story.

I first noticed the missing scene when my critique partner read the story aloud. I made a mental note to fix it; I didn't. I noticed the missing scene, once again, when one of my workshop critique partners questioned it. I made a mental note to fix it. Anastasia noticed it, too. But, I was so busy in the midst of the workshop, and making final adjustments on a licensing project, that I overlooked putting the scene back in.

It all came flooding back to me today, while in the shower. The realization hit me while I wore a head full of shampoo, and nothing else. Immediately, I jumped out of the shower, to check my 'sent mail' box from two months ago, but could not find the email. Finally, I shot off an email to the editor, asking her if she noticed an important omission. I felt completely stupid — not because I had possibly deleted a critical scene from the story — that's easily fixable — but because I found myself standing naked at my computer with a head full of shampoo, dripping water all over my key board, that ain't been acting right lately anyway. It would have been one of those it's-not-what-it-looks-like moments, had the wife come home, walked in. Anyway, the editor returned my email. And, yes, I had left the scene out. Dang.

Lesson learned: Have the wife read my manuscripts before I submit them to any editor. If anyone can spot a problem with anything, she can. And, next time, put my clothes on before I approach any computer.

3 comments:

Anastasia said...

Don,
I've created an email account to send myself little notes so I can remember things. It's on the computer so I can read it anywhere I travel.

Don Tate II said...

Anastasia, thanks. I have this problem with thinking I can keep everything inside my head. But, I'm 41 now, so I'm gonna have to change strategies.

Oops, I mean 42, see what I mean.

rindamybyers said...

List making is an okay thing to do, I found out! On computers or not, I make lots of lists of things to do and not forget. I used to wonder how my mom could get things done so efficiently. Then I saw her lists! Then I knew why!