Was it all hopeless?
She gently swiveled from side to side in her chair, a mug of coffee steaming from her hands while her gaze stared at the pile of wrinkled papers on her desk. The once-clean black and white sheets were riddled with red marks, looking as if they were bleeding from shallow paper cuts. Her recycling bin by her feet had wadded up paper, whole pages tossed out of the story when they became irrelevant when they had once been revered as an irreplaceable jewel.
How had a story that she had poured out of heart been once so wonderful, so lovely, only to be torn to shreds by her inner critic as nothing more than a pile of dust?
Typos littered the pages – here was a spelling mistake of which an amateur would be ashamed, there was an incorrect punctuation mark, and over yonder there was a character’s name that shouldn’t exist – and she was sure that the typos hadn’t existed at all when she had first written the story. It had been one of her best pieces, a novel she had created one word at a time for months. It should have been simple to edit it, simple to query it, simple to find a publisher that would fit it nicely on the shelves of bookstores.
“And so, he guided his horse toward the Jagged Mountains. Together, they rode out of the country, not sure where they would end up from this journey, but a light warmth in his chest assured him that it was the right path. Gold could be found among the dirt, and he wouldn’t find it unless he put spade to earth.”
She heaved a sigh after reading the last few lines of her story, mulling over everything that had been thrown together to create her novel. She took another swallow of coffee, the lukewarm liquid jumpstarting her energy, and she picked up the papers from the recycling bin. Smoothing them out, she put the pieces back in their proper places, picking through the golden shards among the dirt.
This character will stay… That location will go… The religion system needed to be tweaked, and was the magic really necessary…?
Soon, her desk had more paper littered on the surface, paper that was marked with blues and greens and purples, asking and answering questions, fine-combing details to polish her novel to its best shine. Her computer was powered on and she ordered the plot points as her machine booted up.
Her story hadn’t been as brilliant as she had remembered when she first wrote it, but she would work with the precious gems she had found in her first draft to weave a stronger novel. Maybe her manuscript would be ready after the second or third draft…