Manuscript Monday #1

Manuscript Monday is a series of blog posts which chronicle the life of my manuscript. It follows the journey I take to turn my week old baby story idea into a fully grown, polished novel. Take the journey with me. 🙂

My 1 week old manuscript:

Today Atria Plum Ridley was born. She took her first breath as a plucky twelve year- old and I’m very proud to say she was born with a unique hobby. Atria Plum makes accessories for aliens. Aliens she hasn’t met yet.

These are not words taken from my manuscript. But I wanted you to catch a glimpse into my brain. The idea of Atria Plum is the idea that popped into it last week. The one that grabbed hold of me and wouldn’t let go.

I know. You may be thinking this story idea doesn’t sound all that interesting. But that’s okay. I’m on a mission to make it interesting, to make it memorable, to turn it into a story kids want to read. And so begins the adventure of Atria Plum Ridley and the journey I’m taking to turn the idea of her into my fourth middle grade novel.

So where did it start? Well for me, I let the idea of Atria float around awhile for a week or so until I knew I wanted to tell her story. But first things first.

The name Atria has been in the notes section of my phone all summer. I found it on a bottle of face wash. I glanced at it one morning and thought it was pretty- a pretty name for a character. A few days later, she became Atria Plum. A few days after that, I added her last name. Who knows if her name will stick all the way through my first draft, but for now, she’s Atria Plum Ridley.

The name sat through the summer months. I knew I’d use it someday. It wasn’t until last week that I came up with the idea of Atria Plum being the maker of alien accessories. Here’s how it happened…I was cleaning out my attic. I found a box of my 16 year- old daughter’s stuff. I’ve mentioned before on the blog that I’ve coached both my daughter’s and son’s Odyssey of the Mind teams. Well, in my daughter’s very first year, she and her teammate put on a play where two Greek Muses met two Alien friends. My daughter played an alien. She wore alien earrings. They hung on her antennas because aliens of course don’t have ears.

I found the adorable, beaded antenna decorators as she and her teammates called them inside that dusty box. I held them up to the window and my story idea was born!

So what did I do next? I let the idea float around for a few more days. More details of the plot unfolded. Some were cute, some were bad. Some were really bad. Some were pretty good. I decided to go with it and write down all the ideas I had. Even the bad ones.

I started an idea document. There I spent about a half hour writing down (bullet point style) anything that had popped into my head so far about Atria Plum. It only covered about half a page. I closed the document and walked away.

The next day, I thought about Atria Plum. I wondered what her voice would be like. I wondered what style of story I would write about her. I didn’t pressure myself into figuring it out. I just thought about it whenever she popped into my head.

The day after that, I imagined an opening for the story. I quick opened up a new document and drafted the first paragraph. The voice and tone of the story unfolded as I wrote. I have to say, it’s a cute opening. I like it. I’m certain it will change a hundred times at least by the time the polished manuscript is complete, but for now, it’s a start. Enough to keep me going. 🙂

And so that’s it. For now. That’s where I’m at with my brand new manuscript. Exciting, huh? I think it is! I still have no idea where this story is going but I have a feeling that over the next week, a few more ideas may come to me. I’ll have much more to tell you about Atria Plum or at least about this middle grade manuscript. Wish me luck!

So now it’s your turn. What are you working on? Do you have a new manuscript in the works? Are you half way through a draft? Are you further than that? Leave us all a comment. Let’s take this journey together. Do tell us. Do tell!

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