Monday, May 7, 2012
Dust if Off Blog Hop - What I Learned from My Shelved Manuscript
This last day of the blog hop is to reflect on what we learned from our shelved MS.
Oh man. I've learned A LOT.
I started my first manuscript THE CHILDREN OF INAOS: SACRIFICE the summer of 2009 and typed 'the end' the summer of 2011. Two years for the ms. Granted, I wasn't very serious about it. It was just something I did for fun. When the voices got too loud and the only way to quiet them was to continue writing.
In the summer of 2011, after I typed 'the end' and read it through from beginning to end for the first time, I realized I might actually have some resemblance of talent for this writing thing. So I asked myself, 'How tough is it to get a book published?'
Well, silly self, REALLY hard. :)
While my first manuscript garnered a few requests, nothing exciting happened with it. However, many exciting things happened BECAUSE of it.
1) I found my first CP. Theresa Paolo. One of the co-hosts of this blog hop. She read my first work (poor girl :)) and yet managed to find enough good in it to convince me I could do this. That I wanted to do this. To be a writer.
2) So I started a blog. Because that's what writers do. :) And thanks to all of Theresa's advice I found people to follow. Other writers who were going through the same thing I was and blogs that gave advice in how to navigate this world.
3) Thanks to all the new blogs I followed I found many other CPs. Leigh, Cassie, Jen, Hope, Jade, Angie. All of their critiques have even further helped me believe I can do this. Someday, I can do this.
What did my first manuscript teach be about the craft of writing? (I'll limit it to three for your sake, but just know there was MUCH more I learned :))
1) I have to write the first draft in less time. Since I typed 'the end' for SACRIFICE, in the summer of last year, I have completed four more manuscripts, each of which took me anywhere from two to three weeks to complete. For me, writing the first draft quickly, no matter how bad the actual writing is, is key. I am able to easier recall what I've written. Make sure its more cohesive. I'm a panster so I have no idea where the story is headed so to keep writing, no editing, no thinking about what's been written, works really well for me. Plus, then I can get on with editing, which I find equally as exciting :)
2) Show vs. Tell. I did not know about this 'rule' when I was writing SACRIFICE. The excerpt you read in the last post had a good bit of showing in it, and that is all thanks to Theresa :)
3) Write your pitch and/or query right away (Know what's out there). I think this is VERY important for a writer trying to sell there first work. It is SUPER hard to land that agent. They see hundreds of queries in a given time period. What makes your story stand out from the others? What is the hook? If you can't create a good pitch, or place a convincing hook within that query, it will be difficult to get someone to represent, no matter how great the writing is. (It took me four manuscripts to better realize this one.)
SACRIFICE is a great story and thanks to all I've learned, I could probably get the writing to where it needs to be. The characters are wonderful and I really love the setting I've created. Unfortunately, it just isn't different enough to stand out from the crowd of other queries. IMO.
So yeah. That's a very brief snapshot of what I learned from my first MS. The list would have to take up a week of blogposts to list all the things of learned since then :)
What have you learned on this writing journey?