Sunday, September 5, 2010

Manuscript out on submission

But not my YA novel! You didn’t really think I had time to finish writing, edit the entire thing, research potential agents, and start querying in two days?

Actually, last month I submitted something from my “real life.” Three years after graduating, I’ve finally turned my master’s thesis into a journal-ready manuscript.

Even though I haven’t been through the process, I imagine submitting a scientific manuscript is similar to submitting queries. I have a number of journals in mind, but one dream journal. Ever since I clicked send, I’ve been waiting by my inbox like a poodle-skirted sock hopper by her pink Crosley phone the day before the big dance.

But despite the similarities, there are some big differences. For one thing, with a scientific manuscript, complete submissions are sent to one journal at a time- no query letters, no slush pile. Also, this is the best part, I’m fairly certain that my article will be published; so long as I keep at it, this publication will find a home.

I think the biggest difference has to do with how exposed a writer feels. I wrote my science manuscript based on observable facts that I collected over two years. While my scientific merit is out there for criticizing, the process feels strangely impersonal and, consequently, less risky. I doubt that a rejection, even from my dream journal, would leave me broken-hearted. On the other hand, criticism about my novel (even when constructive) stings, because I created the world and filled with characters I imagined into existence. I wish I could say I was great at accepting criticism, but I can't. It’s hard not to take it personally. Recognizing you have a problem is the first step to recovery, right?

I’m sure many before me have pointed this out, but isn’t there more than a touch of honesty in the multiple meanings of the word ‘submission’?

Merriam-Webster defines “submission” as:
1. an act of submitting something (as for consideration or inspection)
2. the condition of being submissive, humble, or compliant
3. an act of submitting to the authority or control of another

Nothing like opening yourself up and exposing all of your gushy bits for someone else to throw rocks at. Along those same lines, maybe I'll put up something from my book sometime soon. Just promise not to be too mean.

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