The Not-So-Lost Manuscripts

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For the last eight months or so, I had silently convinced myself that I was abandoning the manuscripts for the series of novels I began writing in 2010. Before you scoff and judge that length of time, note that I wasn’t writing “just one thing”. I was writing multiple manuscripts (hence, a “series of novels”) in order to fully develop the story itself, as well as characters I know like the back of my hand.

My intense desire was solely to walk away from editing because it is so bloody thankless and is barely paying pennies. My inquiries look a lot like this: “Hi, I’d like you to edit 96,000 words in 24 hours and I am willing to pay $10.” Now while I politely decline these jobs, my first thought is “I’m not working 24 hours straight for $10, and I don’t know anyone with an ounce of talent who’d agree to that. Dunkin’ Donuts doesn’t even pay $10 an hour, who are you playing with?” I don’t say it, but damn, it’s unbelievably insulting. For the record, my hourly rate is $40, unless it’s a first edit, and it’s by no means an unreasonable rate. I know people who charge double and not necessarily out of talent, but because they’ve chosen to put a higher price tag on their time, but not without a mind-fuck of a “reason”. I didn’t go to an Ivy League school to be able to apply said price tag to my work (that’s THEIR reasoning), but it’s still in the top ten. I also didn’t major in things that make me want to gag, like English Lit, Journalism, etc. I’m more interesting than that, and I have more experience. I also try to give people a fixed rate payment plan, that way they’re paying every 2-4 weeks, the work is being done, and they’re not shelling out a large chunk they don’t have all at once. While many people want to be writers, and I don’t knock that, they aren’t quite prepared to pay and deal with a real editor. It’s time-consuming work and as someone who goes over a manuscript twice, I don’t think pennies are acceptable to be tossed in my hard-working direction.

Somewhere along the line though of feeling used & abused by something I’ve done for so long, I realized I had also abandoned a lot of my hard work. I may not want to edit other people’s “work” (I use that term quite loosely. Some people have no idea what it takes to truly write something that doesn’t stink to high heaven.), but my work should be an entirely different story. You don’t write as long as I have and say “Okay.” to leaving solid work on a hard drive, thumb drive, etc. Sometimes you will have a legitimate reason for leaving a body of work behind (You don’t forget it, but you do shelve it for a later date, perhaps.), but I have no solid reason, and so, it was time to delve back into MY work.

The other day I decided to re-visit the first manuscript in the series. My first impression was “Holy crap, look at that word count! I remember when I couldn’t break 11,000 words.” But as far as the actual written work is concerned; I was completely spellbound. There is nothing like getting completely wrapped up in a story. I read several chapters, became immersed in the minds of each character, and then I had a moment when I realized that I was the one who had created this from scratch. At first my internal dialogue was this, almost verbatim: “This writer is GOOD. So talented. So creative and smart. I wonder what else they will create, because this is EPIC. I’d BUY this. Hell, I’d pre-order it!” It took about fifteen minutes before I realized I am the writer I was having internal dialogue about. It doesn’t always sink in. You will have fans and you will have detractors. In my life, I predominantly have detractors (mostly in my personal life), and so, hearing anything positive is so foreign to my ears and equally as foreign to my eyes. I’d rather be told I’m a talented writer than have someone think I’m pretty. I’d rather be told I am funny and/or smart than have someone dwell on the superficial. And when it comes to my work, I am immensely private with the work-in-progress itself, the ideas, the characters, all the little nuances, and the actual manuscript. Having had someone steal my work in the past and try passing it off as her own, I’ve learned that you can never be too careful with brilliant ideas. It may not be brilliant to every single person that reads it, so ultimately I have to be impressed and surprised that I’m the one who wrote it. I have to continue to impress myself, because I’m the first set of eyes on this work and I believe in my ability to tell a story.

So, despite my deep passion for the new, creative journey I am on, one in which I feel is positive and will break me out of the shell I’ve been in without realizing it, I have decided to continue polishing up the first manuscript before submitting it. The story deserves to be told.

I can create on two completely different levels. One does not interfere with the other. I feel blessed to have come to this conclusion on my own and I look forward to discussing the progress in the future.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend where you, quite possibly, have some self-discovery of your own.  😀

copyright © 2016 by Lisa Marino & Blackbird Serenity LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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