EEK! V.S EWW!

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In seventh grade my childhood friend and I had decided to become horror authors by the time we entered high school. We’d bring the first pages of our ‘novels’ to band, and after we were done torturing our clarinets, we’d swap stories and offer advice. I had decided to combine the tale of the little match stick girl, and the film Dark Water (the Japanese one; they hadn’t done the American remake yet). It involved a poor little girl who was so cold she climbed into the hot water tank in her house and was boiled alive.

Obviously there was much writing about how the shower water began to ‘smell funny’ and there was much writing about ‘unnaturally loud banging’ in the water pipes.

“How can I make it really scary?” I’d asked my friend. She thought for a second, then said “Well, you could describe how gross the water is a bit more. Put more detail in how nasty it is.”

There’s been a shift in horror over the past couple of decades. Films and writing used to play on psychological fears in order to scare you or build suspense. Think of the old Alfred Hitchcock films, or Stephen King’s Misery. Then came films such as SAW, and some stories, like those contained in Books of Blood. Suddenly ‘horror’ has come to mean ‘as gory and gross as possible’. But to me, and others like me, that’s not horror. That’s just…messy. If your fear can be solved with some wet-wipes and bleach, how scary is it really? As a bow hunter, the idea of entrails being classed as horror is a little ridiculous. Why take time to build suspense and intrigue in my writing when I could just write a novel about the last time I gutted a rabbit?

I’m standing by my unpopular opinion: Gore has its place in horror, but relying on gore alone is flat out lazy. Think about all the times you were really, really scared in real life. Think about the time when you were a little kid and you thought you heard something under your bed? Or the time you looked out your window at night and thought you saw someone standing in your yard? Or when your dog was absolutely terrified of something you couldn’t see? Now, try to think of how you could get your reader to feel what you were feeling just then. I’m pretty sure you won’t accomplish that by throwing blood and guts everywhere.

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Awkward…

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Remember when fictional characters represented teens we wanted to be instead of the teens that we were? Sweet Vally High anyone? Well, teens in general want main characters they can relate to these days, and that usually means someone who can be a bit awkward. Kids and teens read because they want an escape from themselves, and the more awkward they are in real life, the more they read, it seems. I was exhibit A all throughout school*. I remember those years in painful detail.

I don’t think many authors or film makers remember it quite that well. In literature, as well as in film, the whole ‘awkward’ teen character is laughably inaccurate. According to these sorts of stories, the ‘awkward’ or ‘nerdy’ teen is someone who is still very conventionally attractive (braces or glasses optional), has a close knit couple of friends, is disliked by popular kids, and falls down a lot.

Falls down a lot?

Are you kidding me?

Where are the awkward teens with faces so ferociously covered in acne that it hurts to crack a smile? Where are the awkward teens who get gas in the middle of class and have to let a couple rip? Where are the awkward teens who have pit stains and leg stubble or no face stubble or lisps, or warts?

I demand an answer, because when you actually are an awkward teen, looking to escape into the world of a boy or girl just like you and all you can find are relatively flawless characters, it is a stinging reminder that even in books, you are too clumsy, unpopular, and ugly, to be represented.

And really, what’s the danger here? The world will not implode if the teenage heroine of a novel has major acne.

*until senior year when I got a 20 year old boyfriend, and a job.

Review: The Love of My Life, by Louise Douglas

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The Review (No Spoilers!)

This is truly the Princess Belle of books. It’s tantalizing and wistful, while at the same time, an insightful and poignant look into the way we as humans grieve. This book, already a best seller across the Atlantic (if you’re reading this from an American or Canadian perspective) opens with a prologue. Every reader or writer has an opinion of prologues, and mine have been largely negative. I was subsequently surprised to find that the prologue of The Love of My Life had me moving from the kitchen table to my sofa, intent on spending all day with this wonderful book. In it, we meet Olivia, a woman with a deceased husband, and a past that is not easily brought to light.

Though Olivia has just lost her husband, Lucas, we soon learn her distress runs deeper than that. Lucas has ripped away the universe that used to exist in her heart and she is desperate to fill it. In a state that is, unfortunately, all too familiar to  many of us, she does fill that void. Slowly, she releases herself from the shadow of a life cut too short, but in doing so, she steps into waters so dangerous they threaten to swallow her whole. This story is set between two worlds. The present, with her deceased husbands twin brother, a mother-in-law who would make Queen Victoria shift uncomfortably, a sister-in-law that is as sympathetic as loathsome, and a bottle of gin. The past, with Older Men, a stifling home and mother, a red-hot desperate need for escape, and a charming boy. Times collide to create a romantic masterpiece that will leave you alternately thirsting for more intrigue, and looking out your window, wistful and alive with want. Louise Douglas has written a book that reminds all of us why harps were once nicknamed ‘heart-strings’, she will play your heart, beautifully, melancholy, and let the notes echo throughout whatever room you find yourself in. You, dear reader, are in for one hell of a treat. The book hits North America on March 6th, 2015.

Atmosphere Pairing

This book is best enjoyed on snowy or rainy days, on one’s favorite sofa, wearing that ratty old sweater you can’t bear to throw away.

Food Pairing

Chocolate chip cookies, and they by no means have to be fresh from the oven.

Drink Pairing

Red wine, one that starts out sweet, but finishes a little on the dry side.

Letting Go

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Remember those Hallmark movies they bombarded us with as children? It didn’t matter what the actual plot of the movie was; it followed the same structure and sent the same message every time. The kid is given a bit of backstory, then presented with a capital C Challenge. The kid tries very hard, but then it seems that All is Lost and either she or everyone around her says it’s time to give up. Of course, the kid doesn’t! And they succeed! Hurray! Que the kid being hugged by everyone in sight.

As kids, these movies and other such material helped shape our attitudes towards giving up. Never give up, never surrender. Giving up is so looked down upon in our culture that it’s often seen as a moral failure, rather than a professional choice.

When you have written, re-written, edited, queried, edited, tweaked, queried, and re-written again, as I have, when do you say enough is enough? Or do you say that at all? At what point does hanging on to an old (failure of a) manuscript start to hold you back instead of push you towards being an author?

Recently, on Twitter, an author I follow tweeted that while she had 13 books in print, she had 11 abandoned manuscripts. ELEVEN. Perhaps my age or plain old naiveté is showing here, but I always assumed authors didn’t have failed manuscripts. Certainly not eleven of them. Seeing that tweet, complete with a picture of all the failed manuscripts laid out on the lawn, wrapped my soul in an electric blanket of comfort. Maybe my manuscript was a failure, but that didn’t mean I was a failure as a writer. It also meant that it was OK to scrap the manuscript, stop bashing my head against the same brick wall, and start anew. After working for so long on the same project, I was itching to start something completely different.

So I have. Am. However you put it. I have wrapped my manuscript in a shroud, kissed it on the title page, and nailed the coffin shut*.

If you are in the same situation that I was, here is your go-ahead. It’s ok. There is nothing wrong with abandoning a manuscript. You have permission. Nothing bad will happen.

Knowing when to let go, I think, is something no one will teach you. So here is a list of reasons to consider moving on, from yours truly:

1. You’ve Tried Your Best

The doesn’t mean your best wasn’t good enough, it just means that you can rest assured you’ve truly done all you can.

2. Consistant Rejection

You’ve gone up and down the list of agents on query tracker, queried, edited, queried, edited, etc. At some point you have to say you gave it your best and presenting the same agent with a the same manuscript multiple times isn’t going to get you anywhere.

3. Your Heart isn’t in It Anymore

The most important reason I can think of. If you’re just done with it. You’re no longer motivated to edit, query, or even look at your manuscript anymore. Forcing yourself to go through a process that requires such confidence and motivation when you have neither of those things is futile.

So there it is. Who knew square one could feel so fresh and exciting?

*Actually, I threw it into a desk drawer and said something along the lines of “Never looking at this stupid bullshit again!”

Censored

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One of my very first memories of storytelling is telling stories to my little sister until she fell asleep. My parents were often gone for days at a time because of their careers, and my sister and I would be boarded at our grandparents house. At 5 or 6, my sister was too scared to sleep in her bed alone, so she’d always crawl into bed with me, stifling and teary-eyed, and listen to stories until she forgot her fears and drifted off to sleep.

That was a decade ago. I’m nearly 23, and my sister is 16. I haven’t lived at home since 18, and we’ve often lived in different states. In fact, right now we live in different countries. But she’s come to visit for a week. I had not seen my sister for about a year and a half. Upon seeing her for the first time, my thoughts were this: I did NOT look that young at 16! Followed by all the memories of what I was doing and thinking at 16, horror steadily mounting in my chest. So I faced a real life dilemma that mirrors what many writers of MG and YA face when deciding where the envelope needs to be pushed and when it needs to be triple pad locked and thrown down a well.

Swearing. Sex. Death. Dark humor. Vulgarity. Though the world we live in may seem to have embraced all of those things, I assure you it hasn’t become any less or more chaste* and kids today feel the same as kids always have; filled with curiosity and nervousness about socially maturing. So where do you draw the lines in your work, and what are those lines anyway? In the past, those lines were more like the Mexican Boarder, erected to safeguard the under 18 crowd from impurity (which worked about as well as the actual Mexican Boarder does). Nowadays authors are moving towards a more realistic portrayal of under 18 life. Still, a book filled with bloody orgies is probably not best suited for a 12 year old, even if that 12 year old was born into a cult.

I’m no authority on anything, but here’s the way I see it: Remember what you thought at that age, and make the actions and situations suit your character. My younger sister has always been the ‘good’ daughter, while I was the wild card. When someone cuts us off on the way to the grocery store, ‘ASSHOLE!’, no matter how she tries to say it, does not sound natural for her. It sounds forced, stiff, calculated. It sounds that way for a reason. I’m the ‘cool’ older sister. While I remain in authority, I am still a sister. Though our parents have forbade it, I let her watch Game of Thrones and stay up late. I do her eyeliner in the dramatic ‘Arabic’ style I’m so fond of, but make her wash it off before we go out. She is testing her newfound teenager-ness with me. So her vulgarity, as vulgar as she dares to be, is utterly forced. It’s not in her nature, so it sounds awful.

Same goes for your character. If you’re writing about a shy, passive, sheltered boy and he launches into a screaming, swearing, tirade when he gets passed over for a part in a play, it’s going to sound forced. It will sound like vulgarity for vulgarity’s sake. Similarly, if you’re writing about a 14 year old that gets jumped into a gang, an exclamation of ‘you meanie!’ is going to sound ridiculous. Tailor your vocabulary to your character, and try to stay in the range of emotions you were going through at that same age, and things should work out ok.

Writers Forum Competition Results! ~ June

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I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I love the Writer’s Forum contests. They are reliable and the critiques are always well thought out, professional, and helpful. During my hiatus I wrote up another short story and submitted it, and here is the critique:

Hello Samantha,

Taken by the Missing Hand

Thanks for entering the Writers’ Forum competition.

Presentation: Manuscript layout is good. You might find this post useful for dialogue punctuation: http://thewritersabcchecklist.blogspot.com/2011/01/punctuating-dialogue.html
Typos: lead/led movie/move payed/paid

Title: A good title; apt for the story and intriguing too.

Opening: Great set up. The opening introduces us to the main character and contains a hook that grabs our attention, giving us a reason to read on.

Dialogue: The dialogue works well to drive the story onwards and aids characterisation. The punctuation does need some work however.

Characterisation: The characters are nicely drawn and plausible.

Overall: The story has a good theme and a nice twist at the end but I have a couple of issues with the storyline and they are both related to plot devices (things that only appear in the story because they are needed to make a plot work). The first point regards coincidence; the first person Sandy speaks to just happens to be related to the woman who lived in the house before. Better if Cathy was able to point her in the direction of someone who knew more. The second point is when Sandy says she felt softness whenever she lay on the upstairs floor. It seems an unlikely thing to do, to be lying down that way.

Needs some work but has potential

You might find this blog post on rewriting after a critique useful:
http://writerschecklist.blogspot.co.uk/2011/09/critically-speaking-guest-post-by.html

Best wishes,

Maureen Vincent-Northam

Writers’ Forum, PO Box 6337, Bournemouth BH1 9EH • http://www.writers-forum.com • 01202 586848

 

And here is the story itself, so you can see what exactly is being critiqued.

 

Sandy Larkin was mostly truthful when she told her husband that she was visiting her hometown to ‘lay to rest’ the memory of the accident. She’d driven to the intersection of Madison and 3rd St. like she said she would, and gazed at the pavement she’d nearly died on. She took a selfie for her husband; her smiling and waving her prosthetic hand, the intersection in the background. Then she drove to the local cafe and donut shop to get to work on the real reason she was there.

The cafe hadn’t changed much since Sandy last visited, right before leaving for college. Hell, some of the donuts in the glass case looked like they might have been there for the past decade. She picked out a cruller that was only half-fossilized and ordered a frozen coffee at the counter. The elderly woman working the register didn’t even glance up at her. 


“Hey,” said Sandy, “um, I don’t want to sound weird or anything, but do you know if anyone lives at 107 North Willow? I used to live there and I’m just curious.”

The woman behind the counter looked at Sandy blankly, and Sandy realized just how crazy her question sounded. She was about to dump her donut into a to-go bag and high-tail it out of the cafe when the woman spoke.

“No, no one there.” She said. She looked at Sandy, and her rheumy eyes slid from her face to her prosthetic hand. “You’re that girl that almost died in that car accident a while back, aren’t you?”

“Yeah, I am.” Sandy had been curious, prior to coming, as to who would remember the accident. So far the old woman was the only one to mention it. In a small town, big accidents stick in people’s memories. Especially when those accidents involve a moving van being hit by a drunk driver going 80 mph through a red light. Sandy had been sixteen, had just gotten her license, and had just gotten permission from her father to drive the moving van from their old home a few miles away, to their new one. The accident happened just four blocks away from her new home.

“Why do you want to go back to that house?” Asked the old woman. Sandy popped a lid onto her coffee, and unwrapped a straw.

“I just have a lot of fun memories there. Wanted to see it again.” Said Sandy. The old woman looked at her, withered face expressionless.

“Why do you want to go back to that house?” She repeated.

Sandy got the distinct feeling she might have something in common with this woman. There was something about her voice; she sounded as if she were longing for Sandy to confirm something, wanting to have someone to share a secret with.

“Well, um, if you want the real story, I can tell you later. It’s kinda long.” Sandy Said. The old woman waved her hand dismissively, yelled to a young man to mind the counter, and lead Sandy over to an empty table.

“Talk.” Ordered the woman. Normally, Sandy would have told the woman to watch her mouth; young or old, there was no excuse for bad manners in Sandy’s book. Yet Sandy was eager to find a companion who shared her secret, so she took a skip of her coffee and started.
“You know how that crash took off my hand? I remember waking up in the hospital, and the first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t move my head. I was really scared, because I thought I’d been paralyzed and I started screaming, and this nurse came running in. She told me that I hadn’t been paralyzed and that my head was being held in position so that I couldn’t look down at my body. I was still kinda drugged up and it took me a second to realize I should probably ask why they didn’t want me to look down at my body. Once I did ask, a doctor came into the room and explained to me that I’d lost my right hand in the crash. They undid the strap from around my chin and I looked down and sure enough, there was a bandaged up nub where my hand used to be.”

Sandy bit into her donut and tried to remember what she had felt when she saw that nub, but through the haze of pain medication, she only remembered wondering what they had done with her severed hand.

“I spent a few days crying and getting antibiotics pumped through me. I think that’s when they interviewed me for the local paper, Ms…”
“Just call me Cathy.” Said the old woman. She sat with her fingers steepled, listening intently, and Sandy thought that she would make a very good counselor.

“Ok, Cathy. Well, once I was pretty coherent, the doctor came in and explained to me that I needed to get all healed up before they could get me a prosthetic, and that I could expect to have phantom limb sensations. He told me I would ‘feel’ things with the hand I didn’t have anymore, that if I dropped something where it used to be, I might get a surge of adrenaline because my body was expecting pain. He told me it was my brain’s way of coping with the loss of the limb. And he was right. Some nights I would be laying there and I swear I could feel the hospital blankets covering my missing hand. I started trying to feel the blankets with the ‘phantom limb’ every night. It helped me go to sleep.

“They let me out of the hospital, and I finally got to movie into the house I’d been driving to that night. I loved it; you know how beautiful it is, with that old brick trim and that wood balcony. I remember thinking that everyone would be jealous that I lived at the house on North Willow. Nothing happened the first night I was there, but the second night I couldn’t sleep. I was ‘feeling’ my blankets with my missing hand, when I swear to God I felt another hand touch my phantom one. It felt like someone with cold fingers patted it, like you’d do to a person you were trying to wake up. It scared the living shit out of me, and I spent the rest of the night in the living room watching infomercials.”

Cathy nodded sagely, and Sandy knew that she believed her.

“The next night it happened again, but I was too scared to move. I just pretended to be asleep, like a little kid would do. But then the cold hand wrapped around mine and just held it and stayed that way. After a few minutes I started to feel a lot less afraid. I’ve always believed in ghosts, Cathy, and I heard that a lot of them aren’t bad at all. I got the feeling that this was the ghost of someone who was lonely and scared. I gathered up my courage and spoke to it. I told it that if it felt scared it could hold my hand if it wanted to. Those ghost fingers squeezed a little tighter, and I was never scared of it again. It took me up on the offer, too. I’d be standing in the kitchen, and I’d feel it grasp my hand and just stay like that for a few minutes, then it’d let go. I started to get the feeling that maybe it was the ghost of a little kid.

“That went on for about a week or so, then one day I was sitting on the couch and it took my hand like usual, but this time it started pulling me. I think it got tuckered out, because I followed where it lead me, but after a few feet it just disappeared. I told it that it was ok, and that it was very strong. Just like you’d tell a little kid, you know?”

Cathy’s expression hadn’t changed, but Sandy thought her eyes looked a little watery. She wondered if maybe Cathy had a loved one that died in that house. She finished off her donut, and continued with the story.

“It started to try and lead me at least once a day. It grew stronger and stronger, and eventually it lead me all the way to where it wanted me to go; the bathroom. It would lead me right up to the tub, then kept pulling me until I stood in the tub, then it would disappear. Some nights, maybe twice a month, I’d wake up in the middle of the night and there would be water running in the tub. I was really confused at first, but then I put two and two together. See, ever since I moved into the house, whenever I would sit or lay on the floor upstairs, my phantom hand would always have the sensation of resting against something soft, instead of the hardwood floors. A few months before I was due to leave for college, I realized that it could be feeling something soft, because maybe it was feeling ashes.

“I have this idea that the ghost is the ghost of a little kid who died in a fire, that would explain the ashes, and wants me to stand in the bathtub full of water because it’s trying to save me from the fire. It was really sweet, and so sad. I just picture this little kid who’s still experiencing that fire, and who wants to stop me from getting hurt. Obviously, when I moved out and went to college, everything stopped. I’ve always wanted to come back, ever since I left. But when my parents moved to Alaska, I never had a reason to. That house has been stuck in the back of my mind for years, and I finally decided to just come back and see if anyone was there. Now that I know that there isn’t, I’m really excited to go there and see if my little friend still haunts it.”

Sandy didn’t know Cathy was on the verge of tears until the old woman spoke in a cracking, wavering voice.

“Don’t you go near that fucking house,” Cathy pointed a shaking finger at Sandy, who almost choked on her coffee. The two women sat in silence for what seemed like hours before Cathy dropped her head into her hands. She took several deep breaths, then looked Sandy dead in the eye.

“My older cousin lived in that house, back in 1964. She was an evil bitch. She kept shacking up with man after man, and popping out their babies like she was a human pez dispenser. She landed a big fat one once, the richest man in the state, or that’s what everyone said. She had his little brat, and of course he had to hide the whole thing from his wife. So he bought her that house, and she moved in there with her seven kids. Then she fell in love, very much in love, with some handsome man who worked a good job. He was too good for her, but he loved her back. He told her that he would have married her, if it weren’t for her kids. I remember how she’d called my mom in tears after he told her that. I listened to my mother trying to calm the bitch down, but she wouldn’t be helped. Two weeks later, the first of her brats died. Went missing entirely, and since he was about fourteen, everyone thought he’d just run away. Then the next disappeared, and the next. My cousin had a reputation, and everyone just figured she’d pawned the kids off to their fathers, until the police payed her a visit. When they interviewed her, they realized there was something fishy about her stories, so they told her they were going to launch an investigation.

“They came back nine days later with a warrant to search her house, but she didn’t answer the door. They broke it down, and saw that there was water flowing from the upstairs and that the whole house was starting to flood. They almost put their feet right through the floor boards, they were so soft with rot. They found her floating face down in the bathtub, bloated as an alcoholic bum and when they searched the back yard, naturally they found all seven of her children, drowned to death and buried.”

Sandy looked at her iced coffee. The brown liquid in the cup made her stomach spasm. Cathy seemed to understand, and took the cup away for her, dumping it in the trashcan, before giving her a final warning not to go to the house. Sandy nodded dumbly, then walked out of the cafe on shaking knees.

The world outside seemed far too bright and cheerful; it wasn’t even lunchtime yet and the midmorning sky was cloudless and sunny. A gentle breeze ruffled Sandy’s hair, but she barely felt it on her face. She walked back to her car, called her husband and broke down in tears. She never told him why she cried, only that she shouldn’t have come back. She let him assume that seeing the site of the crash had been too much for her. He told her how strong she was, and beautiful she was, and that if she drove home that night he’d hold her in his arms. He told her that she was very lucky to be alive. Sandy agreed that she was.

 

Nothing like good feedback to get your brain buzzing with ideas and possibilities! If you’d like to submit one of your own stories to the Writer’s Forum Contest, click the logo at the top of this post. Good luck!

Manuscript, Bottled 2013, A Very Good Year

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I went to whole foods today and bought aged fontina for $6. I spent $6 on cheese because I crave that sharp, aged taste, the way it flakes a bit as I cut it with a knife, how well it pairs with a red wine. Sure, mozzarella is ok, all fresh and new, but it doesn’t compare to the taste of the $6 cheese I’m eating right now. And yet, if I were a cheese maker, I’d probably make mozzarella. Not because I like it better, but because I want my work to have a direct line from A to Z. Always something to do, no detours. Like many modern women, I seem to lack the ‘off’ switch of past generations. I don’t just sit and watch TV. I watch TV, check my email, and catch up with a friend on Facebook. When I painted the walls in my house, I did so in one 28 hour spurt, scouring the kitchen while I waited for the first coat to dry. We are raised to see industrious people as virtuous (at least I was) and I have a very hard time pausing in the middle of a project; some part of me, deep in my reptilian brain, considers it lazy.

Manuscripts are not like watching T.V or painting walls. Manuscripts are like cheese, or wine, or growing from child to woman, or growing a tree. At some point, you just have to let the damn thing sit! And that is, admittedly, not something I’ve ever willingly done. The manuscript I have right now, which was universally rejected (but had some helpful personalized rejection letters) is the only one I’ve let alone for a few weeks. I’d like to say this was because of some sort of effort on my part, but it isn’t: I moved across the planet and didn’t have time for it.

The result is a half a manuscript full of red ink. Looking back on it now, it isn’t BAD per say, but it sure a hell isn’t as good as it can be. Without letting it sit, I couldn’t see that. I would read said manuscript and find myself getting caught up with the story itself; but as it appeared in my head. My own imagination filled in the cracks of my writing. I firmly believe that this happened because the story itself was still too fresh in my mind. Now that the cracks have been revealed, I can fix them.

So here’s a question for my readers: Do you let your manuscripts sit? And if so, for how long and why? Answer in the comments section, naturally.

I went to whole foods today and bought aged fontina for $6. I spent $6 on cheese because I crave that sharp, aged taste, the way it flakes a bit as I cut it with a knife, how well it pairs with a red wine. Sure, mozzarella is ok, all fresh and new, but it doesn’t compare to the taste of the $6 cheese I’m eating right now. And yet, if I were a cheese maker, I’d probably make mozzarella. Not because I like it better, but because I want my work to have a direct line from A to Z. Always something to do, no detours. Like many modern women, I seem to lack the ‘off’ switch of past generations. I don’t just sit and watch TV. I watch TV, check my email, and catch up with a friend on Facebook. When I painted the walls in my house, I did so in one 28 hour spurt, scouring the kitchen while I waited for the first coat to dry. We are raised to see industrious people as virtuous (at least I was) and I have a very hard time pausing in the middle of a project; some part of me, deep in my reptilian brain, considers it lazy.

Manuscripts are not like watching T.V or painting walls. Manuscripts are like cheese, or wine, or growing from child to woman, or growing a tree. At some point, you just have to let the damn thing sit! And that is, admittedly, not something I’ve ever willingly done. The manuscript I have right now, which was universally rejected (but had some helpful personalized rejection letters) is the only one I’ve let alone for a few weeks. I’d like to say this was because of some sort of effort on my part, but it isn’t: I moved across the planet and didn’t have time for it.

The result is a half a manuscript full of red ink. Looking back on it now, it isn’t BAD per say, but it sure a hell isn’t as good as it can be. Without letting it sit, I couldn’t see that. I would read said manuscript and find myself getting caught up with the story itself; but as it appeared in my head. My own imagination filled in the cracks of my writing. I firmly believe that this happened because the story itself was still too fresh in my mind. Now that the cracks have been revealed, I can fix them.

So here’s a question for my readers: Do you let your manuscripts sit? And if so, for how long and why? Answer in the comments section, naturally.