Dear Work-In-Progress

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dear Work-In-Progress:

Before I begin the heart of my letter, or what my English teachers liked to call "the body of a friendly letter," I want to get a couple of things straight. First, I'm going to refer to you and your friends as WIP(s) (because typing work-in-progress is just too time consuming); and second, I'm not sure how friendly this letter is actually going to be.

I'm upset with you, dear WIP. Since I created you, I've been trying not to blame you and place all blame on myself. The problem is I can't seem to finish you. Yes, I did write "the end" last summer, and yes, I did pay to have someone critique the beginning of you, and yes, my critique group says: "Send it out," after I've revised you a couple times--but you keep telling me you're not really finished.

Now it's been several months and I haven't even touched you. All I really need to do is revise your first 10 pages and read the rest to make sure I didn't miss any changes.

But I can't seem to do this, so I'm finally admitting that it is, well, ALL YOUR FAULT.

Why can't you just fix yourself? We both know what you need to do. We need to move the inciting incident closer to the beginning of you. Then we need to take the blasted backstory and make sure that just enough is sprinkled throughout your middle that readers can understand why the characters are acting and reacting how they are. Can you please get this accomplished in a timely manner?

I really am tired of your excuses. "I don't have time," you say. "I am just tired of working on myself." "What difference does it make? No one buys books any more." The very worst one I heard you utter just over the weekend: "I am out of wine and chocolate."

Please, for both of us, for our livelihood and sanity, could you please help me fix you? I will show you how to turn on the computer and use the Microsoft Word toolbar, if you are confused. I will keep my butt in the chair and do what you tell me to do, if you will just aid me in revising you this one last time and finding the perfect agent to represent you. (What is the perfect agent? Well, someone who wants to help me sign at least a three-book deal--and thinks you and I are brilliant.)

I'm so glad I wrote this letter, and I will wait for your response. Please keep it brief because really, you need to get to work on you.


(frustrated, but still your friend)

PS: Yes, a three-book deal would mean I have to create two more manuscripts. Yes, I know what you're thinking. But I will always love you best, if you would just get to work.

PSS: Yes, all writers feel this way. I am not being mean.

Margo L. Dill is a writing teacher and novelist. To check out her WOW! Women on Writing classes, including Writing a Novel with a Writing Coach (where she will not make you write a letter like this, although it is therapeutic), please go to this link. To find out about her books, please visit her website

photo by Guudmorning!  ( 


Cathy C. Hall said...

Hahahahhaaa! Yes, all writers DO feel that way. (But, you know, sometimes, you have to kick a little WIP butt!)

Margo Dill said...

Yes, I should have added that to my letter. It is time to kick some butt, dear WIP! :)

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

So did your WIP respond?

Unknown said...

If only our books would write themselves. You did great on this blog post, Margo, all by yourself.

Margo Dill said...

Sue: Well, you might be surprised the next time I have to write a blog post. . . ;)

Jocelyn: Why, thank you! Short things I can write.

BECKY said...

Hi Margo! I loved this! ....Hey, it's late and I can't think of any extra words to add! LOL

Renee Roberson said...

My favorite line: "I am out of wine and chocolate."

I love it! And I feel ya! Thanks for the motivation.

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