The Monsters, er, Manuscripts in the Closet

I was looking for scrap paper to print my WIP out on (I always print it on the back of printed paper first, and I need a hard copy to edit on.) I was out of scrap paper, so I eyed the stack of contest entries I printed out but never entered as I decided to turn away from romantic suspense and turn to romantic adventure.

So I un-binder-clipped the entries and stuck them in the printer. But as they spewed out, new on one side, old on the other, I started reading the old. Hey, you know, not too bad. We got the plot, and the sexual tension going on. We got some snappy dialogue and some nice turns of phrase. And you know, I never submitted it, contested it only once, and it’s complete. It’s not as good as it COULD be, of course, and needs a bit more tweaking on the suspense bit, but you know, it’s done.

I have written (this part is always hard – hang on while I count) 16 manuscripts (I think). Only 3 are making the rounds. I have another half dozen partials (probably more), and another half dozen ideas (today). At what point do you say, you know, those books can just stay in the closet while I write new stuff? Or do you pull them out and try to fix them, make them marketable? Is it worth my time to fix the old stuff, or should I just move on with the new?

Oh, and after my rant last weekend, I finalled in the Sheila series category with Hot Shot! Not only was it unexpected (I thought they were calling on the 17th), it just felt GREAT. I think part of it is that they drop the lowest score, which has been something keeping me from finalling for awhile. But, anyway, yay!

11 comments:

Jill Monroe said...

Yea on finalling in the Sheila!!!

And what a smart idea to reuse old contest entries. I still have EVERY SINGLE entry of mine. And there were A LOT.

So, are you going to revisit that old manuscript?

MaryF said...

Thanks, Jill! I usually recycle my old contest entries as soon as I make use of the comments, but it's been awhile since I've gotten one back. I use old worksheets, all kinds of things.

I'm reading over the old ms and thinking.....

Trish Milburn said...

Congrats on the contest final, Mary! Good luck in the finals. And I've struggled with the question of revisiting old manuscript or if I should just move forward. I haven't had time to look at the old ones lately, but there are some that I'd really like to see find a home. I've got 13 fulls and two partials.

Steph T. said...

Congrats on finaling in the Shelia!

And I'm currenly revising an old ms (I think I have 5 completes but a ton of partials because I'm a big fan of - don't look back) But I'd let this particular one sit for a year, and I think I'm finally ready for it. It needs a pretty big overhaul but the plot's good...

Olga said...

Congrats on finaling in Sheila! And I honestly revisit old mss from time to time and try to fix them. I guess I get too attached.

MaryF said...

Thanks, Trish, Steph and Olga! Steph and Olga, don't you find revising them pretty overwhelming? How do you go about doing it? Do you outline it differently? Do you throw out some scenes and keep others? I find that most of my mss have decent beginnings, but the back end needs work.

Trish and I were saying it's just way easier to start from scratch, which is probably why we have so many mss to revise ;)

Trish said...

Mary, why in the world are you blogging at 4 in the morning!?

MaryF said...

Went to bed at 9, woke at 3:30, didn't feel like writing ;) Went back to bed at 5:30 and woke at 8:30, so got some good sleep. Now to convince Fred to paint the house on his vacation....

Amie Stuart said...

I always print it on the back of printed paper first, and I need a hard copy to edit on
I DO this too! I usually save my contest entries but I throw the extra entry we ALWAYS have to include in my paper to use stack. Oh and I added your link to my sidebar =)

Congrats on the final!!

As to the when you do you hang it up question? I dunno....if you find an answer, PLEASE lemme know cuz I got a couple of those sitting around I'm trying to figure out what to do with.

Amie Stuart said...

P. S. I did rewrite (not revise) one...ended up throwing out like 80% and writing new stuff. I recently did a big overhaul on a novella (the one I sold) but I have one that I honestly don't know if overhauling would help it sell =\

MaryF said...

HEY, Cece!! Good to see you! Thanks for adding me to your links. How fun is blogging??

I did the nearly total rewrite, too, on one book. I just kept the characters. Of course I would need to rewrite the back half of THAT one to sell it, too. I think I could salvage the characters of another book, but all but 2 aren't worth trying to save, I think.

Thanks for the congratulations!

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I'm a mom, a wife, a teacher and a writer. I have five cats and a dog to keep me company. I love bookstores and libraries and Netflix - movies are my greatest weakness.
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