W’IP It Good #1
I came close to throwing a manuscript away.
After publishing the second book in the Sapodilla Resort + Spa series, I decided I wasn’t going to take so long to write and publish the third book. It had taken me upwards of two years to get His Last Wish out, between not feeling sure of where the story was going and distracting myself with short stories (The Bacchanal Sweet and Kinky Karibbean). So, I pushed myself to start the third book.
I had created the outline using the various books on the craft and did character studies of every kind but when I hit the ¾ point, I was stuck and I thought the best solution was to start all over. And I did, I drafted two first chapters but if that ¾ point bothered me to the point that I stopped, page 1- God knew what of both didn’t inspire me to continue.
So, what did I do?
Well, for one, I took a break. I put the manuscript down and put my efforts into my 9-5. Intentionally not focusing on the manuscript let the stress of it subside. It wasn’t front of mind so I wasn’t fretting and focusing on the problem. That left the problem to… what? My unconscious? The Universe? My reptilian mind? whatever was able to unravel the mystery of the incomplete manuscript.
I Picked at The Dead Manuscript
I took up the original manuscript and read it through with the intention of finding what I could salvage. And you know what I found? That it wasn’t half bad. Sure, there was some tweaking to do. Parts to drop, parts to add, and parts to revisit.
I Became Dr. Frankenstein
While picking at the carcass of my manuscript, I pulled out my notebook and made notes on different things, some of which included the character’s motivation, who they are as people, etc. In doing this, I got a better idea of what I had started to write. I also started writing new sections and placed symbols in the original manuscript to indicate where these new sections would go.
I Finished the Manuscript (Kinda)
With a clearer vision of the story, I was able to push through that ¾ point. I tapped into other characters to help carry the story along. I fell into a roll, so it was easy to sit down and write. I was able to complete the manuscript, creating my Frankenstein monster but it wasn’t completely done. I had an ending but I knew in my spirit that that didn’t wrap the story up well.
But As Writers Are We Ever Really Done with a Manuscript?
As per usual, I went over the manuscript as a rewrite. In re-reading it and making tweaks, I was able to craft a better ending. One that I felt was much better than the one I had written, but I’m not fooling myself into believing it is award-winning stellar, but I’m satisfied. Satisfied enough to type up the manuscript (yeah, I write long hand) and proceed to the first stage of edits.
The sad thing is my intention was to publish three books a year with this book coming out in April. It’s approaching mid-July. I should feel awful, okay, at one point I did feel awful, but then I decided to just focus on getting what now shall be titled Maid for More. I could cry and bemoan my inefficiency or I can get this one book done and out there. I chose the latter.
And maybe because of that, I removed what has been clogging up my writing. This resulted in my starting up a new book that has been waiting patiently for me to finish this book. It’s flowing easily as I’m taking a different approach from the last two books I’ve written. But more on that in the next “W’IP It Good” Newsletter which comes out the first Sunday of the month.
Until then, love what you do even when sometimes what you love doing doesn’t love you back.