Dear Manuscript: It's Not You, It's Me

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dear Manuscript,

It’s been almost three years since you first began pursuing me. You followed me everywhere I went and spoke to me through the music I listened to. You introduced me to a dynamic group of characters and begged me to tell their stories. You made me want to revisit the town where I grew up and view it through different eyes.

We spent a crazy, whirlwind month together with me in front of the computer while you dictated. Sometimes, we argued. Sometimes, you made me cry. You kept me up late because I just wanted to hear how the story ended. And even after I heard it, our relationship continued through days of editing, proofreading, and a few beta readers. I was so excited about what we had created together, that I submitted queries to a few agents, only to hear, “sorry, I’m going to have to pass on this one.”

And then I’m not quite sure what happened. I got too caught up in what genre our story would fit into, and then I got frustrated. I pulled away from you. I thought we needed to spend some time apart so I could focus on my paying projects, which you couldn't understand. And then another, very different and shorter tale monopolized all my attention and I tried to avoid you altogether.

But I know that wasn’t fair, and you didn’t let me forget you were in my life first. You reminded me we have unfinished business. You suggested to me that we rework the chapters yet again, and convinced me that by revising the book into a young adult story we might have a fighting chance. I agreed with you, but I still haven’t let myself completely commit to you once again.

The problem was never you, it was me. I lost confidence. I let the nagging little doubts about plot, character development and resolution bring me down. I moved on and tried to forget about you. I’m so sorry for that.

I recently worked on those first chapters once again, and something clicked. I think we’re on the right track now. Thank you for not giving up on me. I look forward to spending many more hours with you again, really soon.


Renee Roberson is an award-winning freelance writer and editor who blogs at Renee’s Pages.


Christie Tate said...

I love this post!! I am sloggin through trying to beat back my doubts.

Unknown said...

Oh this is so true. I still have my one attempt hiding in my desk, ashamed. I haven't yet decided if we will ever be reunited. Sounds like maybe you are willing to give the relationship another try. Best to you!

Margo Dill said...

This is inspiring me to write my own letter to my manuscript:

Dear Manuscript:
Please be a bestseller, so my daughter can go to college.



No really, agree with everything you say and glad you are back at it. :)

Renee Roberson said...

Thanks ladies!

Christie - I started thinking about how if I worked as hard on this book as I do on the relationships in my life, I might actually get somewhere. You can do it!

Julie - I was ashamed at my first attempt, too. But it's not the manuscript's fault I was a beginner, so I hope the revisions will greatly improve the quality. I'll keep my fingers crossed for your possible reunion:)

Margo - I love your letter. Short and to the point. Maybe it's simply a text message to your manuscript! Anything to get the point across, right?

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--It was like you climbed in my head--which might have been a horrifying experience. I apologize for the psychological damage that occurred.

(I love Margo's letter. Hilarious.)

Margo Dill said...

Sioux-- :) Try to keep writers out of your head. :)

Renee Roberson said...

Glad to hear my head isn't the only scary place around here!

Marcia Peterson said...

I like the format of your post of your post--fun. Reminds me of McSweeney's "open letters," which I love to read, though yours is less sarcastic. ;)

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