Manuscript Monday #17

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 17 week- old manuscript:

During this holiday season (which is sometimes all too focused on gift giving and gift receiving), I’m finding it important to zero in on what Atria (my MC) really wants. Maybe that’s because during week 17 of writing this new manuscript, that’s all I can think about.

What is it that I really want?

I thought I really wanted to see my books in print. I thought seeing them on the shelves of small bookstores (and some bigger ones too!), would be the best gift I could ever receive. I bet that’s what many writers are hoping for too. But as I read stories of so much sadness, sickness, and violence in the news and around my own town, I realize that’s not what I really want.

Sure, seeing my books on those shelves would be supremely cool—beyond my wildest dreams, in fact. But if I’m honest with myself and dig deep enough, that’s not what I really want more than anything else.

What I really want is to have happy, loving relationships in my life—with my husband, and also with my kids. I want solid relationships with my parents, my sisters and brothers, my nieces and nephews, and my friends too. I want love in my life and I want health for all of us. Because without that, a single book on a shelf (even with my name written across the front) won’t mean anything at all. And as cliché as that sounds, that’s what I really want.

But what about my writing?

I really do want that too. But if I dig deep enough, I realize that I write because I really want to get my stories in the hands of children. I want them to feel something as a result of reading what I’ve written. That may come in the form of a traditionally published book, or maybe (if that doesn’t work out) it may eventually come in the form of a down-load from Amazon. Whatever the course may be for me, I realize that as long as I can do this for children, I’ll have gotten what I really want—especially knowing that my husband and kids will be with me when it happens!

What will you find if you dig deep enough? What is it that you really want? What is it that your characters really want?

It’s important to know this information if you’re going to have any story at all. Without it, you may have a plot—a series of actions and reactions that your character experiences, but you will not have a story. You won’t have the emotional aspect. Read my original post on this topic here.

I’ve been trying to determine what Atria really wants in her life. Getting the events of this plot down has been the easy part. Figuring out the emotional aspect of her journey has been much harder. But isn’t it that way for all of us? Sometimes, it’s hard to know which path to take in our lives, or how to react to a certain situation. I guess that’s what makes all of us, as people, stronger. Hopefully we can flesh this kind of thing out of our characters too. Creating emotionally developed characters is one of the best ways to make your story stronger—and the best gift you can give your character too.

Have a great week my friends! If you’re struggling with your story right now, take a break and go back to it later. This is one of the busiest times of the year. We all need a break sometimes. So take one. And have a Christmas cookie or two. Just don’t forget to go back to your writing. Your characters will be waiting for you! 🙂

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