Not Perfect, but Parts Are Excellent

OXFORD, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29:  Pages from the...

OXFORD, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 29: Pages from the original manuscript of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, is dispayed for the Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford latest literary exhibition on November 29, 2010 in Oxford, England. The exhibition ‘Shelley?s Ghost: Reshaping the Image of a Literary Family’ which opens on Friday, will reunite for the first time the Shelley archives from the Bodleian Libraries and the New York Public Library and display previously unseen memorabilia including the original manuscript of Frankenstein. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)

We are patient with children, with students, even ourselves, when it comes to meeting goals or achieving milestones. We are not often patient as writers when it comes to the creation of a manuscript.

Take my Work in Progress that began in 2005 or earlier (I don’t really keep a clock on books, too scary). At the time it seemed fairly straight forward. After a few years of short story and essay writing, tackle the novel. I had finally found a story that was longer than thirty or so pages, and I had the commitment to tell it.

Begin: curtain goes up on fairly straightforward coming of age genre, female protagonist. Stuff happens, she triumphs, happy ending. I even went to a week long Master class with a finished manuscript in 2007 (okay there, I did tell you how long) to top the baby off and rush into the arms of a waiting agent, who would be willing to ply me with tickets to New York and auctions where my book would sell for six figures.

Intermission: the writer leading our session said my book needed to be longer, the narrative sharper, the themes darker.

What do you mean mean I’m not finished? I remember thinking looking at her during heart to heart in the hotel cafe.

The truth is, though I have published six ebooks since last August, this first project haunts me. It’s the one that I’m turning all my attention to now in the steady drone of summer and slow period during the daylight hours of Ramadan when the rest of the city is sleeping.

I have a title. I don’t have a cover. I know the middle sags and the ending could do with more panache.

Yes, I have a lot of work to do on this first book that even won an award at one point for its few chapters.

Ending: I want to give up on this story but like your child throwing a tantrum, as much as you’d like to walk away, you know there’s never been a better time to stay.

In the spirit of this Work in Progress post, started by Coral Russell, I’m tagging five other authors with projects in the works who will also need to post about their work.

Click on the links to see how the latest projects are going for S.R. Johannes, JH Glaze, Patricia Lynne, Rhiannon Johnson and Julie Christine.

 

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Mohana has a PhD from the University of Florida with a focus on gender and postcolonial theory. She is an award winning writer of novels, memoir and academic books. Check them out Amazon.com author page

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3 Responses to Not Perfect, but Parts Are Excellent

  • It’s tough when you’re struggling on a story. I have one that I’m working on that has been a struggle. I keep considering switching stories, but if I do that this one will never get done.

  • Mohana says:

    You’re exactly right Patricia. We have to stay with it, even if no one else ever reads it, in order to learn the writing lessons there for the next project.

    What’s the hardest part of this one for you? On my end, there’s more dramatic tension needed….

  • I’m struggling with doubt on this story. Worried about how it will hold up to the it’s a sequel of.

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