Tuesday, July 6

Dead and Buried

My manuscript, A Real Bad Burn, is officially dead.
I tried. Oh, God, I tried so hard to keep it alive.
I worked on it for two straight years, along with shorter, more viable pieces.
The CPs didn't like it, but they gamely kept reading, making some good suggestions to make it better.
But the bottom line was, no one liked it. In fact, it's pretty much universally hated. There were a handful who didn't straight out say so, but the ones who did were pretty vocal in their dislike of the story.
I had a brief glimmer of hope when I went to see Linda Howard, and had the opportunity to talk to her, and she told me to write it. But the truth is, I'm not a NYT best seller, who could write their name over and over and people would buy it.
Recently, a friend sent me a blog post from a new writer who had some of the same kind of thoughts, and she did publish her book.
At first, I too hoped that what I was writing was different enough, and had strong enough characters that it would propel me out of the slush pile. That there was an agent of editor out there willing to chance something so dark and desperate.
But the outcry against my ms was so loud and so really vicious at times (I got a 50 in a contest, along with comments that were not only hurtful, but down right damaging to me as a writer) that I don't think I can overcome it.
Oh, I got suggestions. Change this, change that. Take out what bothers us so much (incest), but to me, that destroyed the very essence of the story. It took away the motivation of the villain. Made him ordinary.
So, after the latest round, I have finally given up. I have quit. A Real Bad Burn is officially dead and buried.
And all I feel is numb grief for a story I loved.


  1. My big question is - did you finish it? Because if so, it doesn't have to be dead. You can just put it temporarily out of commission...until you're published and famous enough to push it through. And try to concentrate on what you learned from Burn, that you can apply to other manuscripts to make them even better. There is always a positive takeway from a manuscript, even if it doesn't see the light of day.

  2. I agree with Christi...it might be dead for now, but maybe later....ya never know!

  3. I'm so sorry hon. I've put manu's on the shelf before. Put one on for a year just to gain some distance. I would hate for you think you're not capable of being a NYT best selling author because of one manuscript. The line between what is permissable is very thin in some areas and very wide in others, it's what makes compromise achievable. In the end though it's your baby and if an integral part needs cut off that severs the story then you have to go with your gut feeling.


  4. I like what Christi said. Finish it, park it and wait. If it isn't what people want now, it might be what others want in the future. You worked hard on it, you believed in it. So, let it sit and dust it every so often. Something will come of it.

  5. Yah, I think we've all got some manuscripts back in the corners. It's tough to think of leaving that poor baby alone in the dark for now, but no matter what, you gained valuable writing experience from working on it.
    And like Christi said, it might see the light of day later on in your career. :)

  6. I had to kill one of my manuscripts. I fell in too in love with the hero, was not getting along with my writing partner and was going through a huge learning curve. When my partner finally read it, she told me basically the story was not good. I cried, I fought, I went through all the stages of denial until I admitted it wasn't good. I learned a ton from the experience and have hence put the hero I love so much with a heroine who matches him. Good luck, I know it hurts, I still mourn him.

  7. I have a vampire story, my first novel which will never see the published page. Although, it hasn't been critiqued and I've only submitted it to a few agents; I know the story needs too much work that I'm not willing to put in to it.

    Regarding your story, I agree, hang onto it. You never know when something might open up, or you may decide to steal ideas or characters from it for a totally new story.

  8. Hi D'Ann, how about your send me a private message on FB?

  9. I've buried several, including my favorite story I ever wrote. But they're still there. Maybe someday, and maybe there'll be a someday for Burn, too.

  10. I have to wonder if your crit partners were the right audience for it because it so doesn't sound like something romance-minded readers would warm to, but the right SF audience might embrace it.

    As far as trunk novels (a nicer term) I have the first volume of an epic fantasy saga that's far too long for a first novel. Or even a second. Maybe someday...

  11. Thanks, everyone, for coming by and commenting.

  12. Never bury. Have you tried crits that aren't in the romance genre? This sounds like a story that could be placed in another market. ?
    Margie Porter

  13. The only mainstream adult fiction book that I've written was the book of my heart and while it's not mainstream enough to be pusblished (and would require major edits) I am so glad I finished it. I had written random chapters for it over the course of a few years and fiction writing class exercises before I finally committed to it. Then two years and 125,000+ words later, I was done. People have read it over the years and loved it, but still I don't think I could get it published. But I am proud of the work I did on it and I don't think I would've moved on to other projects if I hadn't finally exercised those voices out of my head.