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 12 week- old manuscript:
I could call today Miserable Monday. I mean, I did wake up to see a wet, sloppy snow mess outside. I’m guessing some of you did too. My kids were in less than pip-pip cheerio friendly moods this morning. (That’s always fun.) I did crack an egg over the toast I had just buttered for my daughter. Yeah, the egg white slipped out of my frazzled fingers and instead of landing nicely in the bowl, dripped onto the toast. Uggh.
But…my kids made it to school on time. Okay, okay, maybe they were four minutes late. Do you think the attendance secretary let it slide due to the fact that everyone knows uncooked eggs are bad for you? Especially over toast.
But I’m not going to call today miserable Monday. I have too many reasons to be happy. My Wednesday post last week made me realize that. As I read through the comments, (and also some private messages I received on Twitter) I was overwhelmed by the kind words so many of you threw my way. Good luck wishes, encouraging messages…and not just to me, but to my son! How amazing are all of you?? This writing community has a collective heart of gold. Thank you from the bottom of mine. Your words lifted me for days…and still do as I continue to wait.
On Wednesday night my son learned he did not make the high school hockey team. And yes it was as tough of a night as you can imagine. But he is a determined kid. I have a feeling he’ll pick himself up and keep working to improve his skills—and tryout again next year when he’s older and stronger. I shared some of your comments with him this past weekend. I am serious when I tell you, your words brought a grin to his face and he so badly needed it. So thank you for making him smile. 🙂 It’s incredible the power that words can have—even from someone you’ve never met before!
As I mentioned in last Monday’s post, I revised my manuscript down to 1500 words already. So basically I started week 12 with a wide open notebook and a mere seven pages of story. Sometimes it takes a clean slate to get you rolling again. Over the course of the week, a scene has formed in my head. It’s a particularly vivid scene filled with raw emotion. It has been a hard scene to write but it will resonate with middle graders and older readers alike, if I can pull it off.
I’ve noticed something with this manuscript at the three month mark. No, not just that I only have 2500 words in at this point. This story is forming in scenes and images, not in chronological events. That’s has never happened to me before. And I’m okay with that. I already scrapped a sorta-outline that wasn’t working. Now I’m just letting the scenes take shape and then when it feels like I have enough, I will see how I can turn it all into a story.
It’s a different way for me to work. I’m hoping it will allow me to be more creative with this draft. I’m also hoping I will have a better handle on the emotional parts of the story. We all know that the stories that really stick with us over time, are the ones whose characters we connect with on an emotional level of some sort. We need our readers to care about the characters we write. That’s our job. It may be a tough one, but so worth it in the end.
We all know characters like that. For me, the first middle grade character that really tugged at my heartstrings was Aubrey in Love, Aubrey, by Suzanne LeFluer. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend it. From the very first page, Aubrey had me in her corner. I still think about that book when writing emotional scenes.
What about you? Has a character stuck with you over time? What was it that got to you? And…how is your project coming along? Remember, leaps and bounds are great but sometimes baby steps work too! As you can see at week 12 of my newborn manuscript, it’s definitely growing. The growth may be slow but it is happening. And that’s definitely something to be happy about, even on a Monday!