Manuscript Sent — What’s Next?

By Sherry Harris

Last week the Wickeds and I had a conversation about what they did the day after hitting the send button. I’m looking forward (in November) to my “day after” submission and asked some fellow authors what they did after hitting send.

Sheila Connolly: Start the next book? Kidding, I think. My editor is usually so backed up that I know I won’t see edits for months, so I can stop thinking about that book for a while. I guess the next step is to purge the finished book from my mind to make room for whatever the next one is—and there usually is one. So I have to forcibly evict one set of characters to let the others in for their time on stage.

I don’t seem to know what to do with down time. Something physical. I’ve re-caned four chairs, and I’m currently stripping a side table to refinish. It’s nice to switch gears and do something that has a physical result. Mind you, it took me ten years to get those chairs done, and I’m a year into the stripping process now!

il_fullxfull.2283478601Barb Goffman: It’s exciting to reach the point of submitting a short story. By that point I’ve plugged any plot holes. I’ve added description (something I tend to forget during the first draft). I’ve polished the writing and have reached the point where I’m happy—perhaps delighted—with the story. I’m hopeful, every hopeful, that the editor will like it, too. So I hit send (or, in some cases, mail the story at the post office) and then…I obsess about the story.

Yep. For a day or two at least, my mind will return to the story over and over. Has the editor read it yet? (Hardly likely.) Is she reading it right now? Maybe this will be an unusual case and I’ll hear a glowing “I love it” right away. (Dare to dream.) At the same time, I’ll be mentally slapping my cheek, telling myself to stop obsessing; I won’t hear for a while so I should think about something else. Anything else.

Sometimes that something else will be another story. Coming up with an idea, making notes, (cleaning up my desk’s notes from the prior story to make room for the new notes), and writing. Blessed writing. It helps if I have a deadline approaching, as I work well under pressure.

11040535-bucket-and-window-cleaning-equipment-over-white-backgroundRoberta Isleib (aka Lucy Burdette): Unbelievable as it might sound, I’ve been saving the job of rooting through my closet and throwing out clothes for after the manuscript was turned in J. So I headed there as soon as I hit send. In the pile: long underwear for skiing (I haven’t been 8iin ten years and can’t imagine going again. Besides, there’s not much call for long underwear in Key West! Also going to get a pedicure. And tackle the long “to-do” list on my desk. And make almond cloud cookies. And go to the library tomorrow to look at children’s picture books—might be my next project. And of course, immediately thought of some ideas that might make the book stronger—restrained myself from emailing editor and asking for it back. I’ll see it again soon anyway…

Toni L.P. Kelner: Panic is definitely on the list, but the major steps are: 1) Do the happy dance 2) Play a computer game or two or three 3) Start obsessively watching email from my editor to see if she likes it.

Edith Maxwell: I felt like a weight was lifted the day after I submitted my second Local Foods mystery. I set up Scrivener and went through the tutorial. I spent some time in the historical archives of my town library, researching for another series. I brainstormed Book Three! I wanted to go to the beach, but those pesky rainstorms and threatened tornadoes kept me away. I fully intended to open the bottle of chilled champagne but settled for a nice G&T instead.

Liz Mugavero: Ugh, my day after was spent in an 8 hour class studying for my Series 6 license. Yep, I sure know how to party! In the evening I went to my Chinese healer for some Tong Ren therapy. And of course, I worried about both the last one and the next one!

mixed-drinkKathryn O’Sullivan:  The first thing I do, since I’ve usually been in my writer’s cave as a deadline approaches, is take a shower. Then I go out to eat with my husband and have a key lime or lemon drop martini (or some other tasty concoction) to celebrate. The next day I tackle cleaning my office and, inevitably, my mind drifts back to the manuscript or play that I sent off and I panic about something I’d already like to rewrite or change.

Sara Rosett: After I send the manuscript off, I usually do something to celebrate. Go see a movie, dinner at my favorite Mexican food restaurant, something like that. I always say I’m going to take a day to relax, but I’m always thinking about the next book–plotting and planning in my head even when I’m “off.”

Barbara Ross: The day after I handed book one in, I also took a class. It was the last day of the Grub Street Launch Lab, and I was desperate to go, to the point I handed in the book a day early. This time I’m supposed to be going to Ecuador (to join Julian Assange and Ed Snowden?) the day after I hand my book in. Oy.

What do you do after submitting your manuscript? Celebrate? Panic? Or plot– there seems to be a lot of plotting going on!

3 Thoughts

  1. When I am working hard to make a deadline I often don’t have as much time as I would like to get lost in other people’s books. So I love to dive into my towering to-be-read pile. I also generally reward myself for a manuscript completion by planning new knitting projects. I celebrated turning in my last manuscript by knitting up my first Icelandic sweater.

      1. As much as I’d love to show off the sweater, I’m afraid I don’t have pictures of it completed with me up here at the beach. And while Maine summers can be cool, I’m delighted to say I have not needed to bring the actual sweater here yet this year!

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