If any of you are writers, I’m blogging for the Romance Author University over at Night Owl Romance today. The subject is “7 Reasons to Never Throw Away and Unpublished Manuscript,” and it’s appropriate for writers in any genre. It tells the story of Haunted Heart‘s long journey to the marketplace and offers ideas on other ways to use your unpublished work. I hope it helps!
I’m talking with my friend and fellow author, Jess Michaels, over at her podcast “Journeys of Romance.” We chat a lot about our creative processes, our long and winding careers in the writing business, and where to find the best steak ever. Check it out:
That’s where I am right now. I’ve been working on a story that I’ve had in various forms for years. Many, many years. I still believe there’s a good story in there somewhere, so for the past few months, I’ve been looking through the many versions I have and cobbling together the story I want to tell. Things were going well when I first started the project. I’d been away from it for long enough that I had a bird’s-eye view. I could read it as a reader and clearly see the strengths and the plot holes.
That time has passed. My bird’s-eye view is gone. I’m now on the ground, lost in the forest. Well, I don’t even know if I’m lost, really. I’ve finished with the story. I’ve gone through and edited it. But I’m too close to it to truly know how I feel about it.
Does that happen to you? What do you do when you get too deep into a project and can only see the details instead of the big picture? Got any suggestions on how to back away? I really don’t want to put this story down and let it sit for any longer. It’s time is here. It’s waited for its day long enough. So tell me… How can I clear the cobwebs out of my head?
I’ve finished the book, so what’s next? In this case, it’s a waiting game. The book I just finished is actually connected to a book that I’ve submitted to a publisher. Book 1 is still under consideration. I’ve let the editor know that Book 2 is waiting in the wings, so now there’s nothing I can do but wait. The next step will depend on the response. I really like both books. I’m hoping that readers will be able to read them soon.
For the past few days I’ve been getting caught up on all the other things that need my attention like yard work, a broken refrigerator, family birthdays, and I hear there’s an eclipse coming? It feels good to get back on top of things, but as I was weeding my flower garden, I really wished I was inside writing. (Mainly because I hate weeding, and not because a particular story was calling to me.) But a story will soon catch my attention, like they always do.
Until then, cross your fingers on my books’ submissions. Is there anyone else out there who hates waiting? How do you distract yourself to get through it? Any recommendations?
Did I mention I really do like how the book turned out? After all the ups and downs, I like how it came together. On final read-thru, I couldn’t even remember which parts gave me problems. I like the characters, and I like them as a couple. I’m ready to submit!
I finished!!!! The story has been proofread, and I revised the synopsis. That’s a 5-10 page summary of the story. In my case, I wrote it first before I ever got into the book. There was a plot twist that I added while writing the story, so it needed to be updated to match. I also wrote a story blurb, which is a condensed story description that authors use to “pitch” to publishers. It’s very much like the story description on the back cover of a book. So if you think about it, I have a one-paragraph description of the book, a five-page description of the book, and the book itself. Done, done, and done!
Total word count = 49,727
99.5% complete = Close enough = DONE!
I’ve finished editing the last chapter! Yaaaaaaaayyyyy! Now I just need to go through and proofread everything. The pressure is off. I’m so happy.
I wrote the first draft of the last chapter three days ago, but ohmygosh, I’ve slowed down to a crawl trying to edit it. I… just… wanna… finish!!!
Chapters 9 and 10 are finished. Only one more chapter to go, and it’s a short one. I just need to tie up the loose ends and secure the “happily ever after.” I’m so close to being done, I can almost taste it.
Total manuscript count = 47,038 words
I’ve written about the stages of writing before. When I start a book, I’m on a high. I think I’ve got a really cool concept and awesome characters. Then somewhere (the evil Chapter 4), things start to become difficult. I’m past the setup portion of the story. I’m beginning to learn that my characters aren’t perfect and, usually, aren’t cooperative. I’ve usually got clear ideas for later sections of the book, but getting there is a problem. Somewhere along the line, though, things become brighter again. After thinking the book is a total piece of doodoo, I begin thinking it’s okay. Maybe even pretty good. And then, the words really start coming and it’s a a mad dash to the wonderful ending I’ve envisioned since I wrote the words “Chapter One.”
Something different is happening with this book, though. I was coming out of the middle portion and thinking that things were gelling together nicely. I had a path plotted out to the finish line. The words should be flowing, and in some ways, they are. I’m getting words. A lot of them, actually, and they’re coming quickly. It’s just such an effort right now. It feels mechanical instead of exciting. I’m nearing the ending, but gaaaahhhh. I just wish it was over.
That’s not a good feeling when you’ve put so much time into a book. I’m confident that things will get better. I’m just facing the blank page syndrome. I hate the actual process of getting words onto paper (or the screen). Chapter Nine’s first draft is complete, but it’s very rough. I think all the components are there, but it needs a lot of editing. Fortunately, that’s what I do best. I can add in the descriptions and the emotions and all the little things that make a chapter go smoothly.
I just wish I could be more excited about it. Maybe I just need sleep.