Starting Over on a Manuscript


Hi friends! I’ve been back in New York for about ten days, but so much has happened. A history-making blizzard. A visit from my college roommate. Dinners with friends. Dance parties (plural). Two post-graduation job interviews. And (most importantly!) my first notes and meeting with my thesis advisor, the fantastic Jill Santopolo who is a pretty prolific author and editor. The notes were copious and the meeting went really, really well but …

together we made the decision to start completely over on my manuscript with a lot of changes to the plot/characters/timeline/conceit of the story. I know these changes will be for the best, but, man, it’s hard to look at 275 pages you’ve been working and reworking for a year and think about throwing most of them away.

Today, marks the beginning of me trying to write a new chapter one. It’s so strange, because in some ways I know my main character, Riley, so well from the last year+ we’ve spent together and in other ways the changes I decided to make to her personality/history make writing from her perspective a completely new beast.

It’s hard. But writing is supposed to be hard.

It’s exciting. And writing is supposed to be exciting.

Wish me luck!


To Be Or Not To Be

Hamlet-and-skull-on-stampOne of the most common pieces of advice I hear about editing is to go through your manuscript and edit out every use of the verb to be (is, was, were, etc.) For the most part I agree. Passive verbs are never a good thing and adjectives are rarely a good thing. I started editing this month with over 1,000 uses of was in my 280 pages. That means I used the word was on average more than three times per page. This is obviously too many, but somehow when they are my was’s its harder to cut them. Continue reading “To Be Or Not To Be”

4 Great Writing Books for the Young or Young at Heart

pocket museWhen I was in high school my aunt gave me The Pocket Muse. I believe Alison L also used this one in a high school creative writing class, but I might be making that up.  This book is full of wacky pictures, writing prompt, and exercises. For me this book has been like a laxative for writer’s block. Seriously, it will get everything flowing again. Did I take that joke too far? Sometimes, I think writers can get really stuck on trying to draw from personal experience or write “serious” fiction. A lot of writing starts with a simple question – what if? Like what if a reasonable person cried over spilled milk? Or what if there was a silence that wouldn’t go away? (Both examples from the book). Continue reading “4 Great Writing Books for the Young or Young at Heart”