Dreams of Tanelorn
“Write with the door closed. Rewrite with the door open.” – Stephen King, On Writing
Write the first draft by yourself (door closed).
Do the REWRITE with input from people you trust (door open).
Stephen King has about 9 trusted people (I can’t remember the exact number) he uses as beta readers, although he doesn’t call them beta readers.
If an agent knows what readers want, why wouldn’t the agent’s WANTS match the readers’ WANTS?
An agent would know the readership and what they want, and the agent would want the same things so they can have a successful novel.
Gayle Abrams, is an experienced Emmy-nominated TV writer and has also worked for Bantam Books. She’s not exactly a green noobie and probably knows more about writing than all of us put together.
In the article it seems she only rewrote her manuscript 4 times, 3 for her friends and then a FINAL fourth time for a professional developmental editor she hired.
She said the draft rewritten (tailored) for the developmental editor felt like a keeper.
She wrote “That version felt like a keeper.”
And then she had more people read it and they liked it. And her favorite college English professor gave it high praise.
He had edited the Norton Anthology of Friendship and the Kenyon Review. He read the book quickly and wrote me a long letter afterward. “I was deeply moved,” he said. “You write with amazing ease and precision.” “You have a highly accomplished novel on your hands.”
I wouldn’t exactly call that 4th draft of her manuscript tailored for the developmental editor, a “hot mess”.
“Ready” is a subjective term.
But in my opinion, the 4rth draft was ready, it just wasn’t ready according to a particular agent.
And like I said, manuscripts are almost always tailored (I’ve only heard of one manuscript that was published by a major publisher without any edits), it’s just that the tailoring (edits) usually happen AFTER, instead of BEFORE.
Write with the door closed.
REWRITE with the door open.