Have you ever had anyone look at you through squinty eyes, their nose all scrunched up, and ask, “What’s thaaaaat smell?” Maybe you have noticed the offending odor, but have been unable to track down the guilty source. Or perhaps, like a teenager in his own bedroom, your sense of smell has been assaulted to numbness, leaving you unsure of what smell has the questioner’s nose bent out of joint. You might even be a tad embarrassed that you hadn’t noticed the stench before it went public.
Welcome to the writer’s life.
Nooooooo, I don’t mean that writers are smelly creatures, or that the task of writing stinks. What I’m referring to is your manuscript. Wait a minute! Relax that fist and take back what you just said about me and my fat head (my head is normal size, thank you.) And before you waste a perfectly good stove top by spilling tar all over it, let me explain what I meant. Please.
Every writer has stinky parts to their manuscripts. The problem is sometimes–many times, actually–we’ve sat in our own smell so long that we can’t tell roses from rotten eggs. We need to call in an independent nose to give our manuscript an objective sniff or two. Because, like it or not, your manuscript has a few rotten spots. Mine too.
Now, we can sit around and pretend that our manuscripts don’t have pungent issues, or we can let a trained bloodhound follow the trail. Then we can eliminate the problem, and make our manuscripts far more enjoyable for our readers.
Don’ be afraid to expose your manuscript to people who can give you honest feedback. Join a local ACFW chapter or a similar group that encourages members to critique one another. Or develop a stable of first-readers who you can trust. Offer to read other writer’s manuscripts, in order to be of service to them too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go…something smells.