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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Sacrificial Manuscripts

I recently read a very amusing, well written and thought provoking blog
by Erica at
Hypothetically Speaking

It really got me thinking about the idea that our first manuscript is likely to be just the warm-up piece for greater things to come and is therefore not destined to get accepted. The next novel, on the other hand, will have benefitted from all the mistakes and brain flexing you did while writing your first MS and is more likely to get published as a result.

Okay, so as Erica says, everyone sights the likes of J.K.Rowling, but didn't she spend 7 years researching and planning her work before she started actually writing the first book?

Then there's Doris Lessing who admitted that after she’d had a few novels successfully published she decided to send in a MS to her publisher and others under a pseudonym and it was rejected? Then she resubmitted it in her own name it was accepted!

I've been writing a chick lit novel and I'm beginning to wonder whether this is only my warm-up piece. Yikes!

Magnum Opus, here I come!

11 comments:

  1. This is an interesting one. I believe that for most writers the first MS is the learning curve. Whilst at the moment I couldn't possibly imagine spending months writing a book and then ditching it, I also can't imagine spending 7 years writing one!

    A thought provoking post - thank you!

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  2. Yes I completely agree with you, though I guess it's a more positive way of regarding one's rejections ;O)

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  3. I love your phrase "sacrificial manuscripts" You may have a point here. Same with first books. If there's an author I enjoy who's really prolific, I like to go back and read her first to see how she's developed and matured in her craft. Like Sophie Kinsella. Her Twenties Girl is amazing. Shopaholic is cute and all but her later novels show her development as a writer.

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  4. Yes that's a very interesting point. Also I've found that some authors whose work I've consumed avidly suddenly disappoint having produced a less worthy novel than their predessors.

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  5. I never understood how involved writing is until I began that first manuscript. It really is a craft I could study to the end of my days. Great post!

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  6. OMG! Thank you for the feature, that is so nice! Happy to blog!

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  7. I like that idea. I'm also working on my first novel right now. I'm hoping it's not just a warm-up piece, but if it is, at least I can say it's just a sign of better things to come.

    http://ficklecattle.blogspot.com/

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  8. You are welcome. Great to hear from you, too. :O)

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  9. I agree with this post -- I definitely feel encouraged when I look at my first novel as a kind of practice novel. I made all the common mistakes with that one, but now it's time for me to buckle down and learn from it.

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  10. Great pic and term: sacrificial manuscripts. That is how it feels, since we all love our books, even our crappy first attempts. I seriously still daydream about going back to fix what's wrong with my first two-book series, even though I know it's hopeless. The concept has been done to death, and after death all you can do is move on. But still.

    It feels like a sacrifice. So worth it, though! Good luck on your chicklit and your magnum opus. May they be the same thing. :-)

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  11. Thank you Katrina, yes it sounds like you know exactly how I feel. :O)

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