Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Journey Back to the Archives



We all have a manuscript that gets locked in the drawer and never sees the light of day. That certainly wasn't the plan when you started. You spent days, weeks, and months pouring over your manuscript; writing every chance you got, determined to type "The End" one day.

Then that day came. The story over, the next step in the process involved editing. So, you cut, you polished, you corrected errors, and worked feverishly until your eyes glazed over. 

Excited, you sent your beloved manuscript to a select group of beta readers. Then, you waited and waited, until the hives on your arms had hives because you felt so nervous over what your readers might say. 

Then the feedback emerged. Gasp! How dare they say it isn't ready. The pacing is off? Absurd. The characters seemed one-dimensional? Outrageous. Not enough conflict? Did they even read it? 

Disillusioned, you crammed that manuscript into the back corner of your desk, hid it under a tray of assorted office supplies, and forced yourself to believe it never really existed. 

For many of us--including yours truly--this is the story of our first novel. Often referred to as the practice novel, this is our first real endeavor in writing a full-length manuscript. Sometimes we aren't ready to hear the truth about it. Sometimes, we haven't matured enough in our writing to create a marketable novel. That doesn't mean we should give up. It also doesn't mean all of it is worthless. 

No matter how much time has passed, open the drawer, lift the tray, and pull out that manuscript. Even if you decide it's not worth salvaging as a whole, can you find pieces to develop into a fresh story? Is there a favorite character that you can breathe new life into? 

Take a journey back to the archives of your writing. Things will look differently. Perhaps your next novel hides within those pages in your desk drawer.



Cheryl C. Malandrinos is a freelance writer and editor. She is the author of four children’s books including, A Christmas Kindness, released by 4RV Publishing. A blogger and book reviewer, she lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two daughters. She also has a son who is married. Visit Cheryl online at http://ccmalandrinos.com and her children’s book blog at https://childrensandteensbookconnection.wordpress.com

6 comments:

  1. Great advice. I have been meaning to do so and haven't yet. Thank you for the reminder!

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    1. You're welcome, Karin. I have one that I really want to dig out and look at.

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  2. About three months ago, I came across a three-ring binder hidden in a box. The binder held a manuscript I started in 1972, nearly 50 years ago. I hadn't finished it, only about 2/3 finished, but it wasn't too bad. I started typing it into the computer and will finish it as soon as I finish my current WIP. Sometimes our past work can be salvaged. Good advise.

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    1. That is so cool, Vivian. Good luck with it.

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  3. Great reminder, Cheryl. I have a couple of manuscript in folders that I should dust off too.

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    1. Glad you found this post helpful, Karen.

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