Wednesday, November 30
I Wrote What?!?
It was horrible. In oh-so-many ways. It head-hopped - and not just between the hero and heroine within a scene, but random strangers were hopping in to yak. There were plot-holes that could suck up your entire neighborhood and still have room for a few more residents. At one point the hero and heroine were about to get dead by the villain when, for some reason, they decided they'd have a picnic and talk about their options instead. And then they had sex. And then they time-traveled to just before the villain caught up to them. I could go on but then I'd really scare you. Suffice it to say, the characters were okay but other than that, there is a reason that book is on a file that may never be opened.
I started telling stories when I was a kid to entertain myself. I had, at one point, a notebook filled with my versions of classics like "The Three Musketeers" and "Moby Dick" - none of which went on for much more than a few paragraphs or maybe two complete pages. Once, in a creative writing class, I started a short story. And couldn't finish it. It was supposed to be 5 pages, I think, and I couldn't get past Page 3. What did all these started-and-stopped books have in common? I'd been writing them with my teachers or friends or whomever in mind. I hadn't just told the story for me. And with The Manuscript Which Will Not Be Shared I didn't do that. I had these two characters talking to me and I let them talk. To me. To each other. Over each other. I let them talk and I wrote down what they said and I loved every minute of it.
I've learned so much since then - proper use of POV, when to break The Rules, what stories I want to tell. But one thing I kept from that book - when the characters are talking, I let them. I try to corral them into cohesive thought as I go along, but mostly I let them go. I love that book because it taught me two very important things: 1) I could finish a manuscript. Even a terrible one. 2) I wanted to tell the stories in my head. What was your first manuscript like? Does it make you cringe to think of it?