Mary books

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Purging fires of a Manuscript

Every time an author is sent the cover of a new book there is great excitement. That long sweated over manuscript is actually going to be a book! 

Not long ago Ray had this happen for the fourth book in his 31 Day Devotional Meditation series. He has been very busy with emails going to and fro from his wonderful publisher, Rochelle Manners at Even Before Publishing. 

Today he shares a little of what he is feeling today as BETHLEHEM'S WARRIOR BABY goes to print.

And yes, while Ray is rather reluctant to add having his own blog to his busy programme, it will happen - when time permits. Until then he continues to share his thoughts here with us on my/our blog and I trust you are blessed and challenged as much as I am. 

Ray writes:

Oh, if only I was inspired in my writing!

To sit at the computer and type away confident that every word falls into place, every illustration is apt, every quote is accurate. Oh, what bliss I imagine that would be.

Alas, I’m not inspired. I’m just a writer with conviction and a desire to see my thoughts in print so I write. However what I write has to be put through various ‘fires’ before the manuscript emerges complete. Only then can the invisible imprint be scorched into the book. What are the ‘imprints’? ABH (approved by heaven) and ATP (acceptable to publisher)!

May I share with you some of those purging fires through which I have to travel with my manuscript?

There are the flames which consume the concepts of the themes I have in mind. So many ideas are burnt as being unnecessary or repetitive. That which emerges now needs hammering into chapters.

Here is the next furnace. Facts and quotes, illustrations and verses are subjected to their appropriateness for specific chapters as well as the necessary format. In essence these initial ‘fires’ are cool compared to what is ahead.

Oh, the burning sensations I endure as my manuscript is tested by various rewrites, preliminary drafts and quality control inspections!  How many times am I expected to endure such heat? Guess that depends on how much dross remains after each application of the searching flame.

As if that wasn’t enough I have to hand my hard, scorched work over to an editor and proof reader. Their oven seems to be seven times hotter than mine. Their boiler room reveals misplaced commas, inconsistent settings, unnecessary jargon and irrelevant verbosity. These people have sharp eyes, quick minds geared to language usage and the ability to see the impact such words will have on the readers. This is really the most purifying part of the process through which my manuscript must emerge.

The last fire my manuscript endures is called ‘the final check’. Actually that term is a misnomer for I’ve had to do my ‘final check’ a few times.

All of this takes time and effort. It is perspiring work. It leaves me (and others associated with the various fires) weary. However as I handle the completed manuscript ready to be printed I am thankful and appreciative of those who have stoked the flames to their most effective temperature.

Now I must wait to see how the readers respond to the purging my writing and I have endured.  Whatever their reaction this I know, I’m not inspired but I have a desire to write. It continues to take me through the various fires to produce a manuscript with ‘ABH’ and ‘ATP’ scorched into it!

Raymond (with scorch marks) N. Hawkins

Need a special, different Christmas present for someone? Keep Bethlehem's Warrior Baby in mind. And may the fire purge not only our manuscript's mistakes but our very hearts before our Holy God who sent His Son to be that Warrior Baby.

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