Some fairly impressive live SCULPTURES, right?
Meanwhile back at the desk, I had this manuscript that had gone a bit soft as well. What I usually did when I came up against a rotting manuscript was this:
Hide it at the back of the closet.
And my all time favorite . . . start a new story.
This time I chose a different approach. I re-visited that initial idea by reading my notes very carefully, especially the “elevator pitch” sentence. Here’s what I found: The Edmunds family, Carlie, Keith, and their mom are well to do, living in a glamorous beachfront home, then they lose everything and have to rebuild their lives. That wasn’t where the story was headed, but it was definitely where I wanted it to go.
I went back through the chapters, found the places I’d drifted away from the story line, cut out those parts, and . . . Yippee! SCULPTURE in progress. The Princess of Las Pulgas was back on track.
I began to think about other things that I might approach a little differently. Hmmmm. What about rejection? Usual reaction: pouting, lots of self-doubting, throwing a small fit where nobody can see.
So how about trying something else. Here’s the plan: Really dig into that proposal, query letter, first pages. Something’s wrong and it’s my job to find out what. I can’t rely on my opinion alone; that’s really too subjective and by this time I’ve been joined with this piece of writing so long that I no longer have any perspective.
I happen to have a fab critique group, so I turned to them, but I had other options if I wasn’t so blessed. The Verla Kay’s Message Boards offer critique partner opportunities. There’s always SCBWI as well with tons of readers wanting to exchange manuscripts.
Another good place is YALitChat. There’s a small annual fee, but so worthwhile. The Teen Writers and Readers Group is excellent. I’ve used them to beta read and have had some eye-opening comments. The First Pages gives you a critique group of over two hundred readers. There are also groups to help with your Queries and Synopsis.
Whatever you choose remember, sometimes taking a different approach to handling a situation can result in unexpected and often rewarding results. SCULPTURES, for example.