Manuscript Monday #22

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. 🙂

Hey Guys! I’ve decided to postpone the January round of Critique Corner. I consulted with Melyssa and she agreed to offer her feedback on each of the submissions even if we change the date. Plus, I’ve had several people express interest in participating, but it looks like the timing may be off for them. So…the January Round has been changed to a February round. And I’m good with that. If it works better for most of you, it works for me too! Click here for the revised submission deadline and critique date.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about this blog, specifically these Manuscript Monday posts. Mostly because I’m struggling every week to write something interesting. In the first few weeks (months even) it was easy. I mean, who isn’t excited to talk about a sparkly new idea that’s itching to break free? Besides, I thought it would be helpful to share with new writers (or any writer who’s already lived this experience) just what it’s like in the real world to complete a novel. Not much has been posted on this topic. We all envision the daily life of JK Rowling and Veronica Roth, drafting away their next bestseller. But what about the rest of us. The ones who don’t write full time, who have spouses, jobs, school, kids, houses, cooking, carpooling? What is it like for the rest of us?

Well, I had to really think about that this week as I considered shelving this weekly topic—stopping Manuscript Monday at week 22 and call it a day until I have something tangible to share. I figured if I’m getting bored writing about my progress (or lack of progress) then all of you must be too, right?

But this is the exact kind of thing I wanted to blog about. The reality of writing a novel. The highs, the lows, the floods, the droughts. The abundance of time and ideas, and also the lack of both. Because that is the reality of writing a novel for most people. The difference between those that actually complete their novel and those that make excuses and give up, is that even during those low points, they keep thinking about their story. They keep writing something. They keep their hand in it, even when their mind is overwhelmed with life and they can’t actually put any words to paper. They daydream about their characters and their foes, and imagine a story that might be complete someday.

So, I completely understand if many of you tune out on Mondays. Hearing about my low points may not be that motivational. But for those of you that do continue to tune in, I promise to do my best to keep it real.

And so at week 22 of my newborn manuscript, here’s where I am…

In limbo. A few days ago I reread what I have drafted so far. And I have to say I really love it. Seriously. I love the voice. I love my characters. I love the world I’m beginning to create. I like the idea for the plot even though not much has happened in the story yet. Yet for many reasons, I am setting it aside for a bit.

First, I have a second ghostwriting project I’ve contracted for a small company. They want a sales book published (in their name) with elements of fiction throughout. You may remember that last fall I was a crazy person drafting another work project. Well that was the draft of the first book they contracted me for. Since that time I’ve made small revisions but now they have given me their major revision notes. So at this time, my days are pretty packed—between revising the first book and writing the second, all by the end of March. Yikes! Please say prayers and send virtual snickerdoodles!

Secondly, I am aggressively revising my completed middle grade novel. In a perfect world, I’ll start querying it before summer. Hmm. More snickerdoodles??

Thirdly, I have my regular life to participate in! Prince Charming, royal children, hockey mom duties, house stuff…all deserve my attention too. Do you think any of them would consider snickerdoodles in exchange for writing time?

And lastly, I’ve been throwing around an idea for my current manuscript’s sequel for several years now. Just this week I had a breakthrough for its plot. It would pull together loose ends that readers might not even know weren’t tied up in the first—a puzzle they didn’t actually know needed to be solved. I am beyond excited to write it, but as many of you know, until I know the first book is sparkly beyond a doubt…and has a home, it would be a waste to write the sequel right now. Unless of course I find myself with an abundance of time. Then of course, I will write away!

So for the near future, who knows how much time I‘ll be able to devote to my little story of Atria and her adventures. But I will keep daydreaming of her, and of all the mischief she’ll someday get herself into.

And that’s the reality of writing this manuscript at week 22. Thanks for taking the journey with me, and as always, feel free to share your ups and downs too. Good luck on your journey. Keep daydreaming of your story, and get that pencil to paper whenever you can!

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