Sunday, July 27, 2008

Perseverance vs. Stubbornness

Lately, I’ve been considering my previous WIP, the manuscript I am currently submitting.

The field of children’s literature is full of stories about people who overcame overwhelming odds to find success. I’ve heard an equal number of tales of mountainous slush piles created by hopeful writers who refuse to accept rejection, improve their craft or refine manuscripts.

How do I know if I’m persevering or being stubborn? When should I stow a manuscript in the basement, say Kaddish for it, and focus on the next one? How can I tell if another round of revisions will push it over the top or suck the life out of it?

People tell me to trust my gut. But the gut is close to the heart, and the heart is a fickle judge. One moment, I remember a scene or something a character said, and I know it is right and true; the next moment I envision my stack of rejected queries, and decide to put the manuscript away. Perhaps the only answer is in the final result. If a manuscript gets published, then its author persevered. If the manuscript fails, its author was stubborn.

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