Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Thou Shalt Not Abandon Your First Manuscript!

I don't really think of my first novel as a "mistake." But what I've learned since finishing it is invaluable. I've learned about GMC. I've learned about the Black Moment. I've learned about (gasp!) organization!

I owe a lot to RWA. They've helped me a lot. Yeah, I subscribed to "Writer's Digest" before I joined RWA, but it didn't have the "punch" I needed to help me hone my craft. Belonging to an RWA chapter, having a critique group, the email loops, writing workshops, etc., have all made my writing 100% better than it used to be.

But what I did not do was abandon my first novel. I re-wrote it, using everything I learned, and kept at it because darn it, if I spent that much time writing it, I was going to do it right. I guess I'm not one of those people that abandons a project because they feel it's never going to amount to anything. I figure, if I'm spending X amount of hours/days/weeks/years on this baby, it's going to get finished and it's going to be GOOD.

But, having said that, there is something to be said for starting over fresh, for remembering your earlier mistakes and avoiding them. I've already done some great new things for my next historical - ways to keep track of where I'm at without having to go back and re-read the manuscript. I'm excited simply because that will cut down on the amount of time I need to search for things when I can just look at my handy little charts.

It's exciting to use your knowledge and even more exciting to see the results!


Blogger Rene said...

I abandon mss more often than I should. Remember "Damaged?" I ran into the contest results from when I entered it the one time. It got really high scores then I felt bad for deserting it. Lessons learned.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Tess said...

Melissa - I did the same as you with my first ms. Rewrote it countless times and learned a lot. I abandoned it a few years ago, though did transfer it to WriteWayPro, so it's available if I want to play with it again.

But, as you said, there are a lot of advantages to starting fresh with something new. I discovered that pretty quickly. Still, I do hope one day to get Richard and Amelie's story published.

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Jill said...

I rarely abandon a ms, as for me it's easier to fix something on the page rather have face a blank page.

8:46 AM  

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