So, I recently read a blog post about writers becoming too attached to their manuscripts. There was a particular interview by a publisher on this blog post about the length it should take to craft a novel from planning to end line edits. The publisher went on to say whenever he gets an unsolicited query by a writer, often a new writer, and he happens to see a line that they have been working on the novel for 6+ years, it sends up a red flag. This means, he said, that the writer had become too attached to their manuscript and cannot bear for it to leave their side.
I know I have become one of these writers. My novel has been in planning, to the day, for a total of six years, but I have only been writing the actual manuscript for coming on 4 years. This 4 year length includes three full, hard edits -- including one massive overhaul to the entire structure of the world I created -- along with some character additions.
Does this mean that I would send up a red flag to this same publisher if I, a new unpublished writer, would send my unsolicited manuscript to him? Granted, I would never tell them the length I have been working on the manuscript, but they I hope they might be able to see the polish in it to make an assumption. They could think, "Hey this guy wrote a slam dunk of a novel."
So where is all of this leading? I believe that a writer can become attached to their manuscript, but why at any point should this be considered a weakness of the writer? Haven't I invested my time accordingly to build a world and story that is absolutely pertinent to what I am trying to sell to an agent or publisher?
There will be lines drawn on this matter and I suppose it is a place where most writers find themselves at some point in the writing process. As for me, I do not see this as a hindrance, attachment or even a weakness. I see this as just a deeper part of the discipline. When I find myself doing a hard edit, I ask myself if I truly need to go through all 400+ pages again and catch small things. Most often, they are not small things, but parts that I just see being stronger or more relevant. Even Fantasy has the ability to latch onto reality and draw out real-life lessons that can have people change the way they think or act.