Okay. I wrote bits of a book. Some time later, I wrote other bits. I thought I had a book. But then again, I wasn't sure. I put it in a back drawer.
Several years later, I took it out again. I read it. It made me laugh. It made me cry a bit too. Hey, this book isn't so bad, I thought. This book might just be a real book.
I tidied it up. I tweaked it. I sent it off. One agent asked for the full manuscript. Two said no right off. The first agent wrote back saying they'd talked about it a lot but basically it didn't work. I put the book back in the drawer and sulked for a year or so.
I got the book out again. I read it. I still liked it. I still had the nagging feeling that something was missing. I sent it off for a literary critique. The author who critiqued it also had the nagging feeling that something was missing. She had the nagging feeling that a lot was missing. It was a very flawed book, she said.
I sulked for another year. Then I dragged myself on an Arvon course. Then another. On the second, one of the tutors made a couple of really helpful suggestions. I went home and wrote a new subplot for the book. It was undeniably better. But I wasn't sure. I was worried for my book. I didn't want to send it off again prematurely into the world.
So I waited. I worried some more. Then I tweaked it and sent it off for another literary critique, this time with a different agency. The nice lady said nice things about the book. She said it could be a real book. And she made some really helpful suggestions.
I've acted on those suggestions. I've written in new bits and I've gone over and over it until I don't think you can see the joins. I've read it through a hundred times. I've changed words in sentences over and over until the words swim and the sentences don't seem to make sense any more.
Today I finished. Today, I've finally had to admit that this book is as good as it's going to get. It's time for this little would-be book to go out and try and make its fortune.
And I am terrified.