Who says I don't do breaking news here? Novelist, crime-fic critic, and long-time blog wizard David Thayer--who just minutes ago apparently typed "The End" on a major rewrite of his novel Flamingo Dawn (which I thought was a great read already), has posted some notes on his working method.
Mr. Thayer notes that his manuscripts have all to date returned to him with "varying levels of thrust." Indeed, the speed and force with which they have been thrown back has varied, and I hope he won't mind if I tell you that the book he is rewriting came this close (narrow gap twixt thumb and index finger) to publication, passing upward through three tiers of reader-critiquer committees at one press over the period of about a year before they said, "Sorry..."
Rejection of my own manuscripts always induces a sinking feeling, since we all believe we have our flaws, right? But watching other people's good manuscripts get tossed back stirs a sense of righteous indignation in my belly. I'm still seriously pissed off on his behalf.
The title of his essay is the most explanatory part, and is about as succinct a summary of process as I can imagine.