Manuscript Monday #19

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 19 week-old manuscript:

Do you wait until your first draft is finished to let other writers read your work? Do you wait until you’ve revised the completed draft at least one time? Or are you more likely to let them read your chapters as you write them—in order to get more immediate feedback?

There’s no real answer here. All writers are different. I’m guessing that many of you could use a fresh perspective on your work though. Whether you already have a critique group, or you’ve never had anyone read a word of your story, you may benefit from hearing what other writers think. That’s why I started the virtual critique meetings here on the site. A story is a story whether you live in the Pigeon Forge, TN; West Palm Beach, FL; or Paris, France. We all want to hook our readers with the strongest possible story, and critique groups are a great way to do this.

Imagine a virtual cafe, where we meet with our cups of coffee in hand, to discuss our chapters. The beauty of this virtual meeting is that we can do it from our own homes (or coffee shops) at our leisure. We can read the entries when we have time, and make comments on them when we have time as well.

This month, I encourage you to participate in our January Critique Corner. Click here for details. I’m accepting any 500 words right now. This is a great opportunity to fix up a problem section of your story, or to see if readers are hooked with your opening. You choose what 500 words you send. It can be the first 500 but it doesn’t have to be. Just give us a few lead in sentences (if you choose a section that isn’t the first 500) so that we know what’s going on with the story.

Please get them in by January 23rd, but sooner if possible. As I mentioned last week, the Fabulous Melyssa (@MyInnerMG), my critique partner extraordinaire, will be offering feedback on each participant’s sample. I’d like to give her enough time to read them through before they go live, so she can give a more thorough critique. I’m so crazy excited that she has offered to do this. It will be awesome to read her thoughts on all the samples! I’ll be sure to offer my feedback too, and with feedback from each participant as well, it will be an awesome virtual critique meeting, I’m sure!!

So please spread the word if you can, on Facebook, Twitter, wherever. The more participants we have, the more feedback we’ll have too. If you participated in the last round, you are still free to submit. I will consider taking more than the maximum if we need to. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.

It feels great to be getting back to writing. After a busy holiday season, I bet you guys agree with me! I have managed to sneak some writing time in, but it’s pretty much been that—sneaking it in. 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there. Even though I feel most myself while I’m being creative, I actually thrive when I have a schedule to be creative in. So this week I am supremely happy at the thought of order that my normal routine will bring!

At week 19 of this new manuscript, I’m not feeling the love for this story at all though. And this worries me. I’ve never had this happen before. I’ve always been 100% into whatever story I’m drafting. 150% actually. For some odd reason, my heart is not in this one. I’m chugging along the tracks with this one like the Little Engine That Could. Only I feel like I’m the Little Engine who Doesn’t Care if I Make it Up the Hill. I care more about the story I’m revising…my other manuscript. With that manuscript I feel like the Little Engine That Will Make it Up the Hill If I Have to Tie Moon Shoes to My Wheels, Jump the Track, and Bounce My Way Up The Hill.

So what do I do? Keep drafting even when my heart isn’t in it? I’m not sure, but that’s what I’m doing. I’m hoping the love will come back when something I write shakes me out of this writing funk. And if it doesn’t, at least it’s an exercise in plotting and character development. But at best, it will eventually turn into a story I love and that my readers will too!

What about you? Any updates on your writing or your revisions? Do tell, please! I’d love someone to commiserate with. Or any questions on submitting to the January Critique Corner? I’d love to answer those too.

So until Wednesday… keep writing. Even if you don’t feel like it. Every word gets you closer to your completed story. And that’s the goal, right? To get your story in the hands of readers? So well then, go ahead. Open up the document! Type a few letters. Then some more. I believe in you. I know you can do it. Believe in yourself. You’ll be amazed at the all sorts of awesome your story will become!!

2 thoughts on “Manuscript Monday #19

  1. Riley says:

    I’m chugging along with a new project at the moment… I like it a ton. At this point, I have very basic details of what’s going to happen, but I have a beginning where we meet characters I’m kind of in love with. I’ll probably submit it to the Critique Corner, though. (Not sure it’d be totally appropriate for younger readers, though.)

    • swirlandspark says:

      Hi Riley! It’s so nice when you have even a part of a story you love! That’s usually the start of something great. Feel free to submit to Critique Corner. This month’s round isn’t for kids. I’ll take a look at it, and as long as there’s nothing outrageously inappropriate, we can include it. Give it a try and thanks for sharing your progress. 🙂

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