Manuscript Monday #3

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 3 week- old manuscript:

World Building is my favorite part of developing a new story. It’s my chance to let my imagination take me wherever it wants to go. It can lead to me to a place I’ve actually been to before, or to a place I’ve pictured in my mind- someplace real I’d actually like to visit. It can also lead me to someplace new though. Real new- as in not a real place. It’s my chance to explore my own mind…just make someplace up!

On week three of my baby manuscript, that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been brain storming on my giant poster board some places that I think my MC might live and hang out. My early ideas centered around one specific place, and at first I was really excited about it. But as I’ve tried to add to her world, I’ve been sort of stuck. It didn’t bother me too much. I figured something would come to me when my mind was ready. Besides, I had this out of town family wedding to go to over the weekend and my mind was pretty preoccupied thinking about all I had to do for the trip. It’s funny though how ideas come to you when you’re least expecting them.

My family and I traveled to a rural town in Pennsylvania for the wedding. My cousin grew up on a 200 acre farm. The property is breathtaking complete with 17 buildings including various sized barns. Talk about a location for a country wedding! The couple was so in their element, radiant and happy. Their guests were made to feel right at home. The celebration was intimate and extravagant at the same time somehow. It went on under the stars until late in the night and one I will never forget. My teenaged kids had the time of their lives.

I have to fill you in on one highlight of that day for me though…My daughter grew up a Hannah Montana fan. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve watched The Hannah Montana Movie. If you have children you may know the scene I’m about to describe. In the movie, Miley Cyrus leads a crowd of family and friends in a song/ dance called the Hoe Down, Throw Down. It’s a peppy pop/country song that gets everyone up on their feet dancing- proclaiming “If you’re 5 or 82, this is something you can do!” Well, I just about lost it when my sixteen year-old suburban- bred daughter got up on that barn dance floor at our family wedding and led her 12 cousins and tons of people she didn’t know to that exact same song and dance! If you’re wondering if I joined in, you betcha I did! I’m a twelve year-old tween girl at heart, remember?

The next morning, we returned to my Aunt and Uncle’s home on the farm for coffee, sweet rolls and danish. My kids had not been to their home (built in 1849) since they were in pre-school. My aunt and I gave them a tour of their historical home. Their reaction was unexpected. They devoured the history. They were enthused about the antique collections. In a nut shell, they decided that they’d like to live on a farm just like this! We laughed about all the adventures and parties (aka trouble) they could have at a place with this much space.

Although moving out into a great big farm like that is not in the cards for our family in the immediate future, I had to agree with them. I could imagine all the adventures and parties (aka fun!) that a child could have at a place like this.

The entire ride home, I thought of the farm. The barns. The silo. The historic house. The creek, The brick wall. The cows. The path that led to I’m not even sure where! And then it hit me. I may have to set my new story on a farm.

Wait what? A girl who makes accessories for aliens set on a farm?? Hmm. Yeah.

I’m not sure about that either. So I got home last night and pulled out my poster board. I added some of the coolest spots from my aunt and uncle’s farm to my page. So now I have a board full of spots for my story that may or may not work, together or alone! But that’s okay. I’ll keep adding to my board. Eventually my world will come together and it will be an amazing place for an adventure!

So what other progress did I make this week on my new middle grade manuscript? Atria Plum (my MC) is turning into a real life girl. In fact, spending so much time at the wedding with my young nieces and nephews gave me another idea for her personality. I had brought my index cards with me for the drive home yesterday. Much of that drive was spent jotting down ideas about her. Atria Plum is beginning to feel real to me. Not real enough, but she’s getting close, just like her world.

If there’s one point to this post today, I guess it would be that in developing any story, ideas can come from any place, and they usually do when you least expect it. The more adventures you have, the more opportunities you’ll have to let your imagination swirl. And that’s exactly why world building is one of my favorite things to do when developing a new story. I get to go out and explore the world. That’s the only way I know how to make up a new one for my characters!

So how about you, my friends? Any progress this week on your stories? I’d love to know where you are with your characters and your plot. We’re all in this writing thing together, right?

And that’s reminds me… Our September Critique Corner is coming quick! Several 300 word samples submitted by our blog readers will be featured up on the blog for critique. The date is September 24th. Details can be found on the Critique Corner tab. We still have spots available, so go polish up those openings and send them in. We’d love to give feedback to as many writers as possible. This round is for adults who write either Adult, YA or MG (no exotic or explicit samples, please). Feel free to spread the word on Facebook or Twitter or to your own writing friends too.

Until Wednesday, have fun working on your manuscript. I hope the world you’ve built (or are building) develops into an amazing backdrop for your story too. 🙂

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