Monday, November 10, 2014

Chased by a Manuscript

by Joan

I have a manuscript. I won't reveal which one. But it’s my addiction. It’s a vampire after my blood.

Every time I sent out a submission, I answered the question: Is this the best it could be? With a yes. But in my heart of hearts, and with hindsight? Of course it wasn’t. Of course it still isn’t.

Barnabas Collins, Dark Shadows
More than once I put it away, under the bed, in the bottom drawer, back shelf, whatever your go-to coffin is. But even after I start writing another book, it lures me near a dark shadow to bite me.

Once bitten, I’m back in its grip. I fix plot, tweak tension. I add humor or texture, remove adverbs and extraneous words, revise and restructure. I poke and prod it, yet it hangs on for dear life. It has teeth and goes for my neck.

And so I take it out from time to time (or every night, but who’s keeping track), hyper-analyze sentences, pump-up dialogue, brainstorm with my critique partners.

Maybe I’ll get it right. Maybe it’ll be my sophomore novel. Maybe it will go quietly into the night.

All I know is, the more I write, the more I learn. And the more I try and run from the bloodsucker, it hunts me down.

I’ve tried sunlight and a wooden stake. Maybe next time I’ll try fire.

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