Is Your Story a Diamond in the Rough?

©2014 Wendy Scheuring

When a writer asks me to read his or her manuscript or listen to his or her book proposal, the first thing I do is look for the story. We’ve all heard the expression “diamond in the rough.” That’s exactly what I’m seeking. Sometimes that story is just waiting to be discovered, like a priceless diamond hidden deep beneath the earth’s mantle.  Like a diamond, your story might just be waiting to come to the surface. But is your story so overtly described that it deprives the reader the thrill of experiencing the journey?  Is there even a diamond there, or is there only a thick chunk of volcanic rock, sending the would-be “miner” on a dead-end chase?

So, the question is, how do you know if you have a diamond in the rough?

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in what we’ve written that it’s hard to see our story from a sojourner’s eyes. We’ve shaped and re-shaped that story to the point where it becomes a deep and intimate part of us.

And, as the author of that story, you see things that others can’t see and hear things that others cannot hear; you make connections that seem to blend the story together. But, what speaks harmony and resonance to you might be a dissonant chord or a dull ping to a foreign ear.

Even when authentic diamonds are expelled to the earth’s crust through a furious flow of magma, they haven’t yet been deemed valuable. They need to be cut and polished by an expert diamond cutter who will determine their shape, size, and worth, and value to others.

Do you have a diamond-in-the-rough that can be cut into an exquisite jewel to be treasured forever, or is it embedded in a dull, dark piece of black volcanic rock?