Monday, March 8, 2010

Married to the Manuscript

I Wendy take you, Novel to have and to hold, through sickness and in health…

I’ve officially reached a new stage with my WIP.
Here is our love story so far…
Writing the Rough Draft = Falling in Love
Initially, as the words flung on screen and I raced to get them from my brain to the page, I was overcome by those first love feelings. I felt courted. My fingers fluttered to Novel’s face every time I saw it. A bouquet of flowers opened in my mind whenever I thought of the unraveling plot. A familiar tickle played under my ribcage because I couldn’t stop thinking about Novel…couldn’t stop dreaming about Novel. LOVE.
First Round Edits = The First Fight
Uh oh. All is not always champagne and roses in paradise. I married a novel. Ever had that come to earth moment of reality? And a few moments later, if you’ve reached any point of maturity, you remember you too can be fallible with words. Relationships get messy. First drafts are nothing short of messy. There is a whole heck of a lot of pride to tear down.
But you hang in…you hang on…
Second Round Edits = ChchchChanges
Together for quite some time. I knew how to read Novel’s sentences. We laughed at all the same jokes. We knew each other well at this stage. We knew the exact buttons to push. Novel knew exactly how to get under my skin. And I did my very best to get under Novel’s skin.
Third Round Edits = Coming Around
Dreams of the frolicking days of yesteryear evaporate. At this stage I dreamt of how to fix Novel. What could I do make Novel better? Because after all, I believed, like every spouse does at one time or another, it was my job to do so. So I dug, I brought up the hard conversations. We hashed through some of the rougher stuff together and once we got through, a feeling wormed its way inside me. I begun to shed tears and these tears weren’t the same as First Round Edit tears. These tears were tears of relief. I began to enjoy Novel again…began to see all the reasons I fell in love with Novel in the first place. I think our work and time together paid off.
Critique & Feedback = Always Something to Improve
Sure rough edges still exist, so we go to counselor. Counselors often see things from a fresh perspective. They catch things about our relationship we missed. I trust our counselors. They are intelligent and eager to help. Why wouldn’t we apply their advice? We begin to communicate clearer because of what we’ve learned from our counselors. We are improving even when we felt we were solid.
One to One Hundred More Reads = The Duration
Here is where we’ll see if we can stand the test of time. Maybe we’ll even teach a class or two (provide advise/critique for others), or go on that honeymoon we’ve dreamed about (enter a contest), or head to a marriage convention (a writer’s conference) or maybe, just maybe if Novel shows me it’s willing to keep working with me, maybe we’ll renew our vows (interest an agent) and when we’re old and gray we can look at each other, give a little squeeze and say, “We’ve made it,” as I hold the published copy of my love in my hands.
If you are married to a manuscript, which stage are you experiencing?
*photos by flickr


  1. This is so fun!!! I loved your view on writing a novel, it's brilliant! I am in the falling in love portion at the moment, and I'm certainly feeling the love, the ideas are fresh in my mind, waiting to be poured all over paper, and I thank you for sharing the feelings that will come next!

  2. Ah, yes.....I can resonate with every single one of these stages, Wendy!

  3. Love this post! What a wonderful analogy!

    I hesitate to say this, but...I'm married to many of my stories and they all fight to be number one in my life! LOL!

  4. Not married to a manuscript just yet. This is an interesting illustration. I'm going in with my eyes open!

  5. This is truly a love relationship. I couldn't walk away if I tried!

    I'm in stage 1 & 2. Praying that we make till the end.

  6. Committed for life, but sometimes struggling to see eye to eye, just like a human marriage.

    You are so clever! You must lie awake nights thinking up snappy posts to help and amuse us! Love it!

  7. I'm in the love at first sight stage with my WIP. It draws me with a bat of the eyelashes. I find it hard to stay away, I bask in its presence and when it's time to say goodbye for the day, I miss it!

  8. Excellent post! I'm a that the "get to know you" falling in love stage right now. Around chapter 6 we will probably have our first fight. :)

  9. Wendy, you are an AMAZING bloggite!!
    Sigh. Struggling through a fairly major rewrite late in the game of deadlines.

    I would say we are having a midlife crisis.
    Luckily we also vowed to have and to hold!!LOL


  10. You are made of awesome, Wendy! I love this metaphor! :) I've hit the fatal attraction part to my WIP. After one of the characters dyed another one bright blue, I didn't stand a chance. I love the feeling I get when I think about working on it. If things go as planned (Ha!) we should be having our first fight around May.

  11. Ha! Now David Bowie "cha cha cha changes" will be running through my mind all day!

    Very clever post here, Wendy. Where am I?

    with my novel under edits, we are in deep marriage therapy

    with my WIP, I'm in the honeymoon phase

  12. Wow! You hit the nail on the head!!!! I am sooo in love. Isn't that a great feeling? We're having our first fight though. My novel thinks is deserves a HEA right this very minute and I say it needs to wait another 70K. Patience is a virtue.

  13. Fabulous post. Really great comparisions.

    I'm probably in the chchchchchanges stage. Novel and I are working on some massive revisions that I think are really helping novel, and I believe are really bringing us closer together.

  14. Since I'm in the middle of my draft, I love it, but I'm still editing my other book so I'm still in critique and feedback and really hoping to move on soon.

  15. I'm thinking I'm about ready to renew my vows, if I can find the right agent who will perform the ceremony ;)

  16. How awesome is this? AWESOME!

    I'm in the duration. And then, believe it or not, I'm going to go back to step one and try to fall in love with a new MS. Crazy.

  17. I love this! I'm in the coming around stage and the always something to improve stage.

  18. What a fun comparison! I'm in a really weird relationship with my wip right now. I was in the rough draft stage until page 200, then I stopped where I was and went back and rewrote the first few chapters based on some new plot lines. Now I'm in the Critique & Feedback stage with the first fifteen pages as I get them ready for the Genesis contest.

  19. LOVE this post! It's so true. You nailed the stages perfectly, and I do so want to hold my novel's wrinkly hand one day and say "We made it" !

  20. Hmm. At the moment I have to say I love my novel, but I'm not totally committed yet. I don't feel we know each other very well yet, and we might need a little therapy to help get us over the hump. :0)

  21. How about this one:

    "After all I've put you through, I can't believe you still love me enough to stay with me."

  22. I love this, Wendy! How about the engagement period, which for me is the outline? That's the intense period of self-questioning. "Is this really the one for me? Do I really want to commit?" Hee hee.

  23. Jen, I'm falling in love all over again with my characters in novel four. I sort of feel like I'm cheating on my last novel, but I can wait for these current characters no longer.

    Katie, That does not surprise me at all. ;D

    Donna, I wonder if our novels get jealous just like people?

    Karen, That's how I live. I dream with my eyes shut and live large with my eyes wide open.

    Tamika, It takes some fight, but it is well worth it. Hang in.

    Jeanette, I won't lie, there are nights when I toss and turn with an idea and my house is scattered with sticky notes.

    Jody, I so know that pain. When I have laundry to do or other things around the house, I think why oh why can't I just be writing right now.

    Jennifer, Ah, the good stuff. Brace yourself. ;)

    Patti, Excellent--a midlife crisis. At least it makes good blog fodder. You are such an encouragement for me here.

    Danyelle, Love it--fatal attraction. Steer clear of the rabbits. And made of awesome a whole lot of cheese. ;) Bleu cheese to be exact.

    Tess, You introduce something I've wrestled I finish up edits or start the new WIP I've taken copious notes on...I started today. Couldn't help myself.

    Janna, It really is a whirlwind of sorts.

    T.Anne, As I always say, you show 'em who is boss!

    Dominique, That's what carried me through those rougher patches--to know we were improving.

    Patti, So, you're another two-timer, eh? I'm kind of feeling that now (WITH MY NOVELS OF COURSE).

    Joanne, Very smooth. I need to find someone to officiate our wedding soon too. Been praying on that and doing a load of research.

    Elana, So good to go back to fall in love again. And how much did I hear your voice in that second awesome? How much?

    Susan, It's always nice to know where you stand with someone. To know where you're at in the relationship. Remember early dating, "Should I bring up the am I your girlfriend topic?"...good times.

    Sarah, Sounds kind of like you might have broken up with yours for awhile, only to have gotten back together for the long run.

    Georgiana, How are you even writing after surgery? Wrinkly hand--too cool.

    Kristen, Getting to know you...getting to know all about you...

    Catherine, Yeah for therapy. Huge fan of counselors here. Huge. Fan.

    Anne, Sort of like what I say to God every night in my prayers. I love seeing you here, there and everywhere...ode to The Beatles. ;)

    Rosslyn, I'm just sooooo excited for your news still. Engagement...I'm learning to have longer engagements. I think they might impact the longevity of the marital relationship. I can tell already the one I started today is a keeper. Big time! Love the hee hee.

    Well folks, I'm over the moon (ha, get it, my 3rd novel is called Noble Efforts to Engulf the Moon) about novel #4. Oh, I love these characters. You keep me entertained.

    I hope you know I'm glad you come here and leave your thoughts. My thoughts like the company.


    ~ Wendy

  24. Oh my, the first round edits. Struggle and fight. Good, good post. Never thought of the stages like that and it makes a lot of sense. Blessings**

  25. Great post! But I think something's wrong in my novel relationship. I'm in the rough draft, newlywed stage and I'm already bored of the thing! Guess I need some renewed passion, or at least a little one on one time. That might help!

  26. OH MY GOSH!!!
    This is such an awesome run-down. I LOVE it! Where am I? Hmmm, just finished the rough draft so I guess I'm in that stage of realizing Novel isn't perfect but seeing as I avoid conflict, I'm not really looking forward to exploring further. Guess I have to though, if I want this "marriage" to e a thing of beauty. :-)

  27. This is great! I am not married to a manuscript yet, but I hope to be one day. My real marriage is so worth all the ups and downs. Hopefully jumping in to the first stage of writing a novel will be, too!

  28. I love the way you put writing into such a wonderful metaphor. I still am not up to writting novels, I still play with my children's books I haven't yet sent them to be published yet but my kids like them and my daycare kids like them for me that's enough. Or maybe I am just to scared to try to publish them, I don't know. I have to say I have loved reading your posts for ever, hopefully will be seeing you since it's warming up.

  29. What a clever post! All true. All true.

    I'm starting revisions of my latest. This week is the first pass, and I'll probably skip the honeymoon phase and head straight to the you-need-to-change one!


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