Monday, June 27, 2011

Fighting with your Manuscript-Who's winning?

You would think by now, I would've figured out that if a manuscript(MS) is leaning in one direction or another with or without your consent, that as a writer, you would just follow it.  RIGHT?  WRONG!
Some of us new writers are stubborn and still don't trust our instincts yet.  Once again, I've had an explosion of an idea in my brain.  An answer to a question I've been wrestling with all this time.  It took the words of another writer and several days of simmering in my brain before I actually figured it out.

I've been grappling with my query letter because, the way I have my MS, the first 8 pages are in the present-Main character girl is in her 30's.  Goes back to when she was a teenager in high school for body of MS then the last two chapters, switch back to present and she's 30 again.  I've always thought I wanted to write in the women's fiction genre, but the whole middle is YA, because she's a teen.  So I've asked people smarter than me what they thought.  I've had 3 different friends read it and liked it like it was, but then trying to pitch a story that goes back and forth like that in a little less than 250 words has proven almost impossible for me.  I've written that query 20 times if I've written it once.  I asked a writer friend, who's opinion I respect, @DarkeConteur, and she said that sometimes you have to go where the words take you.  She said she never meant to write a YA short story, but she had one that moved in that direction anyway.  I think she said that one was published, but don't quote me on that.  So having those words in my mind, I've been working on this all week.  Trying to reconstruct something I thought was pretty good to start with and having little success. 
Then, this morning it hits me.
Take the beginning out and start where the YA part starts. Duh. Accept the fact that it is what it is and it's a YA novel.  Even though my intention was not to go there because everybody else was, that's where this MS has ended up.  I've had a teen friend of my daughter's read it and she loved it.  She said she sat up reading it and it made her cry.  I added some things to the chapter before it goes into the part where the Main Char. is 30 and ended it with hope, but there's no sparkly happy ending.  She doesn't get the guy, but she's stronger and she's heading to college.  I think there's a triumph in there and that's what I wanted for the end.
I think this is the answer I've been needing, but the word count will have to come down a bit.
I feel better about this illumination than anything else in a long time. It feels right.  I can take what I have when she's 30 and that can be 'women's fiction' and can move forward with that MS when the time is right.  :)
So I didn't actually allow my MS to win...did I?  I did feel like we were fighting each other...I guess I did let it win.  The words seem to know what's best.  I just need to be a better listener.

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