First things first: LisaP, my Random Number generator chose you as the winner of a copy of The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Congratulations!
My WOW! Women on Writing blog tour officially began on Monday with an introduction and a Q&A about The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Someone who commented on the interview, Julie, left a question for me that I answered at WOW but would like to post here too.
Therese, I’d be curious to hear how you got yourself motivated to begin again from square one. When you realize that you basically have to scrap an entire book and re-write it, the task can seem so daunting. Where do you even begin? Any advice for getting over that hump?
It didn’t happen right away; I grieved for the failed manuscript. I was roughly halfway through a completely different manuscript, too, and so I considered letting book #1 be the one that would live forever “under the bed.” But there was just something about that story and its characters that wouldn’t let me rest. Once I knew I had to try, it still wasn’t easy feeling motivated. There were plenty of dark moments of the soul when I doubted if I could or should do it.
Something that helped tremendously was finding new excitement for the story by marrying what I already knew about the characters and their tale with new possibilities. I still remember sitting outside as my kids played in the pool, working through Donald Maass’s Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook, and having a major revelation about one of the characters. Could I really do that to her? And I realized, YES, I could, and YES, I should, and how cool would it be if it really worked…?
So when you tackle an old project anew, make it new for yourself too. You may want to try a new voice, mix up the sequencing, add new layers to the story and/or lean more heavily on theme by introducing new subplots. Oh, and definitely check out the Breakout Novel Workbook. I hope that helps!
Unslumping oneself is never easy, but I think stretching your story and your mind is a great way to invigorate a manuscript. Challenge yourself personally. Challenge your story goals. And challenge what you believe to be possible–because anything is.
Write on, all!