Life During Manuscript   2 comments

My Manuscript

An Early Draft, Now Barely Recognizable

It’s done. All Done. Over. Finished.

My sci-fi soul, laid bare, over the course of several hundred pages and 130K (or so) words.

My book. The one that took forever to write, or seemingly so.

Its fate rests in the hands of my agent now, who has total authority to sell it and make us both rich, famous and instantly recognizable.

My sister Gwen, our agent Marisa and me went out to dinner recently, discussing all that it takes to put forth a novel of any genre or length. Sure, there’s coming up with a compelling plot, interesting characters, twists, turns, a blast of an ending and the promise of more works to come. But there’s a backstory to all this, one that most readers never consider.

It’s this: what happens when the writer writes? What goes on in his or her life while the words flow?

I started writing this book in 2013. Mainly I wrote nonfiction and copy. Truly had no clue how to write a novel. So during the time from first word on the page until the seventh draft – yup, that’s right – I’ve had a lot of action occurring in the background.

Both of my parents died. My dearest uncle, too. I quit one job, lost another, and got hired again. I’ve had surgery and a scare of cancer. My sister had two surgeries and a cancer scare too. My brother is battling a terrible disease. My husband had major surgery. And sure, there were many times I stared at the computer screen, eyes filled with tears because I couldn’t think long enough or clearly to formulate a sentence. I couldn’t focus long enough even to come up with a lame blog entry.

Good things happened, too. My son grew nearly a foot (no lie – he’s 6’2 1/2″). Andrew and I had a great trip to Atlantic Canada and San Francisco. I have some wonderful friends that made me laugh. Gwen and I went to several fantastic literary events. Even had a few birthdays along the way.

And absolutely most of all, I survived the writing experience and I finished a book, got a wonderful, wonderful agent and there’s a publisher who might be interested in my work. Yay!

This, too, might seem strange to some, but probably not to a writer: my characters wouldn’t let me give up. If I wallowed in my grief and sorrow, one of them tapped me on the shoulder and said how sick they were being trapped in my brain and they were going to kick me in the patootskie if I didn’t let them go on with their lives and live it up on the pages of my book. They had plotting to do, people to exchange dialogue with, motives to fulfill. So as I drifted off to sleep at night, one or two of them inevitably held a conversation in my head, wondering what they should be doing next. I tried to discuss it with them, but often I was too sleepy. Sometimes, they’d be a bit too active and wouldn’t allow me to drift off, poking me to move the plot along already. And then, of course, when two characters grew rather attracted to each other, well…

So hopefully I’ll do a better job of keeping this blog active. I spent the past month on the final home stretch to get the manuscript in good order, and now that it’s done? I’m on to my next book!

2 responses to “Life During Manuscript

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  1. Congratulations on the upcoming book. I look forward to reading it.

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