- Not everyone hanging around here is ready to pursue publication, and I hate to bore them every day.
- Even when you're querying agents, you can use your "waiting time" to be working on other projects.
But the biggest reason is - I like to talking about writing best of all, and I might go crazy if I don't allow myself to do so.
So, I'm in the "editing the big stuff" part of the writing process with my current WIP, Playing Kitchen. (Do we like that title? Any thoughts?) I knew my manuscript was in need of serious work. Not just the normal my-first-draft-sucks work, but some-characters-disappear-halfway-through-the-book type work. And some-plot-lines-never-get-resolved kind of stuff.
So when I sat down for my read through, I kept a notebook next to me. Here she is:
On the first page, I kept a list of what to research. There were two columns, one for general questions I need answered (a list of wine country publications, does E! pay for photos and how much?) but also a list of things I need to research on location (high school, grocery store, main strip) because in October I'll have the privilege of doing my first ever research trip. (Insert me squealing like I once did at New Kids on the Block concerts.)
Next, I started a list of plot lines in each chapter. Again, I needed 2 columns. One for the way the chapter is currently written, and one for plot lines I think need to be added. So my first column might read:
Desire to be liked
And my other chapter one column would look like:
Memories of playing kitchen
Hint of strained relationship with Macy
But then I realized, to my great frustration, that I often foreshadowed things but then forgot to follow-through. Grr. So I took a Post-It note and started listing the plot lines I completely dropped. Like my poor guy who broke his arm halfway through the book, yet there's never another mention of it...
One more list I kept was of potential themes. There were four times that I was struck by a sentence in the manuscript. It seemed weightier than the others around it, like it might come to mean something later. Or like it was part of a greater theme.
Like in chapter two my main character, Madeline says to her friend, Jack, "Meddling in people's relationships can really mess things up." And he answers, "So can minding your own business when you should speak up."
When I read it, it seemed like that was an idea I'd intended to explore later. I made note of it, wondering how it could work into other plot lines, and how can I draw out times that Madeline is right and that Jack is right?
At the moment, glancing at my notebook reminds me how much work needs to be done. It's overwhelming. Yet making my lists gave me a glimpse of the big picture and makes me hopeful that this book can become everything I wanted it to be when the first lines popped into my head: I’ve never minded being in the bright lights. That’s the reason I’m here instead of Dad.
If you're up for sharing, what's the first line of your current manuscript?