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Thursday, January 11, 2018

 

Manuscripts: A Love Affair

Last year, I had a series of relationships which ended badly. I’m talking manuscript relationships. They all started out well. My characters were compelling, my ideas rich. I was eager to see how the story would develop and plunged in headfirst, giving it my all, talking about it to anyone who would listen. I was sure this was “the one.”

But after a few chapters, my enthusiasm waned. Our “romance” fizzled out. I couldn’t muster the energy to commit. The spark wasn’t there anymore. Feeling dejected and defeated, I did what any desperate writer would do: I ghostedmy manuscripts.

Several months ago, I read a “Dear Amy” – she’s a Washington Post columnist who gives advice to readers in need – about a woman who felt stuck. She’d had a series of romantic relationships, but they all ended in heartache. The woman didn’t know how to break out of this cycle. Amy advised the woman to switch her routine, to find romantic partners in brand new places, and to choose people who were the opposite of her usual type.

Amy’s answer made perfect sense to me and, the more I thought about her answer, the more I could apply it to my manuscript relationships. Maybe it was time to try something new.

An idea for a children’s picture book sat in the back of my mind. It had been there a while. Despite my lack of confidence, because I’d never attempted to write a picture book before, I took Amy’s advice, pulled the idea forward, and got started. Each word in a picture book needs love and attention, and I spent a great deal of time nurturing the overarching theme, choosing the perfect action words, and completing a sweet, beautiful little story about a small girl and her comfort object.

In one short week, I had a picture book manuscript I was proud of. It was complete, polished, and wonderful. We had a lasting relationship. In a small way, moving out of my comfort genre and trying out a new relationship helped me fall in love with writing again.

Writing and finishing the picture book was exactly what I needed to move forward with a YA fiction project. Picture books need love and attention, but so do YA novels! After finishing the picture book manuscript, I felt invigorated, and set to work on an outline for a current work in progress that I still had feelings for.

I think it might be the one.

*Teenager lingo for ending a relationship by disappearing from the other person’s life completely. No calls. No texts. Unfriended from all social media. Simply gone.




Bethany Masone Harar is an author, teacher, and blogger, who does her best to turn reluctant readers into voracious, book-reading nerds. Check out her blog here and her website here.




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3 Comments:

Blogger Angela said...

I have a series of unfinished novel relationships that I can't seem to completely break off. I leave them hanging on while I focus on my latest fling--creative nonfiction--hoping to rekindle the passion we once had. So far, it hasn't worked for me and the fiction manuscripts continue to stay "ghosted," but I've continued my affair with nonfiction work, which has been more satisfying. It sounds like cheating on your YA novel with a picture book worked for you! ;) I hope you submit your picture book!

11:37 AM  
Blogger Sioux Roslawski said...

Sometimes you need to kill off the ones that won't die... the ones that are so horrible, they should not breathe another breath.

But maybe I'm the only one who has that problem.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Renee Roberson said...

Sioux, those sound like relationships I would find on my favorite TV crime channel, ha ha!

Beth, I love that you used the term "ghosted." I've been trying to slip it into my vocabulary lately, and hope my teenager doesn't think I'm too lame.

I have a few manuscripts I've definitely ghosted on--not sure if they think we're taking a break or that I've met someone else and won't be coming back?

Great post!

6:10 PM  

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