Friday, May 6, 2011

Help! Writer challenges at the end of a manuscript

I am now just four chapters away from my final revision pass on my YA fantasy manuscript! Even for someone that considers herself to be organized and disciplined, this has been the most difficult part. I’m going to compare it to my wedding almost four years ago. I felt that our 10-month engagement went quickly with exception of the final two weeks. That time dragged for what seemed like eternity.

So why is this final stretch being so hard? My theory is that the end is so close that I’m getting nervous about finishing it. I’ve been working on this project so long that it will almost be strange to not be working with these characters for hours each day. Secondly, finishing it means that I will actually be submitting it. Also, I’m finding myself torn on how to publish it. The publishing industry is moving and changing so quickly these days. And lastly, I’m finding myself suffering from the writing blues. This is what I call it when I’ve decided that I don’t like the story anymore.

So what am I doing to combat these issues and move towards the end, reaching my self-imposed deadlines? First, as a motivation to finish I have clearly outlined my next very exciting project. Really, I can’t wait to dive into this new story and this is the PERFECT motivation to wrap up my current WIP.

Secondly, I’ve put my worries of the publishing industry aside for the time being. Better understanding the industry has nothing to do about finishing my manuscript. I can’t publish it in any way if it isn’t finished.

As for those writing blues, I recently spoke to some of my author friends and found that they all experienced this. I believe that most writers are perfectionists, like myself, and therefore we are going to find times where we are not happy with our work. I’m fixing such thoughts by going back and rereading positive emails from my critique partners. I’ve also gone back and reread a few of my favorite scenes reminding myself why I love this story and why it deserves to be read by others. As an exercise I also copied pictures of actors that I felt matched my cast of characters into my word document with all my character profiles. By adding these pictures it renewed my love for the cast and gave me the final emotional driving push that I needed to dive back in and finish the manuscript.

So, I ask, have you experienced these problems when the end is so close? How did you overcome and finish your manuscript?


Just a reminder that my non-fiction book “Caring for Your Special Needs Dog” will be out later this month by Who Dares Wins Publishing. I recently secured that a percentage of the profits will go to The Texas A&M Foundation to the benefit of the Neurology Section, Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinarian Medicine. More details to come.

Also, if you have not read the book, “We Are Not Alone—The Writer’s Guide to Social Mediaby Kristen Lamb then you should. Kristen has also started a new hashtag group on Twitter, #MyWANA where writers can meet for effective promotion and discussion. This is great way to get your platforms out there effectively and quickly in an age where social networking is key.


  1. Congratulations in advance on finishing up your manuscript! I'm kind of in the same place right now with mine, and I'm also looking at publishing a little questioningly. I'm thinking seriously about trying self-publishing as an eBook, at least for this first shot at novel-ing.

    My strategy for falling back into love with my book (which I've had to do a couple times now) is music. As I write specific scenes, I think about what song would be playing if this were a movie. Then, when I want to get back into that mindset, I just put on that song. I have a whole playlist just for this book specifically. But I love your casting idea; may have to try that too. Yay for #MyWANA!

    -Lynn (@grammarofchaos)

  2. I totally get you on this one! I finally finished my YA book two months ago but yes, the final weeks were the toughest. And then those moments of writing blues when you read it and you think - ohmigosh this is awful what was i thinking...And then you want to rewrite the whole thing or throw it in the trash.
    I smiled to read about your cast photos - i do that too! Espsecially for my male lead. I have several actors/sports stars who seem to really fit the physcial pic in my mind of my characters and so i have their photos there with me on my laptop as i write. For when i get stuck. And I agree with Lynn because music works really well for me too.
    Enjoying your blog and accessing another writer's thoughts as they traverse their own writing journey.