The Second Coming: If at First You Don’t Succeed, Write and Write Again

Image from etsy.com

I’ve got lots and lots of material to share and will do so in the coming days (or weeks, more realistically, given the bat-shit craziness of my sheh-jule these days…). And what I’m noticing right now is that my writing life is experiencing a rebirth of sorts that has me coming back for SECONDS…

To start, while the jury is still out on the POV issue plaguing my first editing project (see “POV for Vendetta“), I’ve been assigned my SECOND PROJECT, which is already presenting issues of its own. In this case, the author is safely applying 3rd person limited across different characters by only shifting POV in new sections and/or chapters. However, its story arc is sagging in the middle due to a repeating element that flattens it out through lack of variety. In future posts, I’ll speak to both my editorial comments on this specific manuscript as well as pacing a story in general.

In the last couple weeks, I have also been mapping out a SECOND MANUSCRIPT of my own! Idea remnants that got left behind as I finished my first manuscript have inspired another story line altogether, so I’m working to apply all I’ve learned from my many, many mistakes on manuscript #1 to what will hopefully be a better planned and executed #2. Outlining the plot from the get-go is a first for me, as I’d nearly written myself into a hole the first time around and didn’t know how to bring it all together (see “Fraying at the End“). So while ms #1 accordingly still needs a lot tender lovin’ care, ms #2 is providing my mind a healthy diversion for a while. Having a second project in the pipeline also keeps me from placing too much pressure on that first one navigating its path to publication. As presenters at my workshop said last weekend, hardly any new author’s “debut” novel is actually the first book they’d written.

Speaking of workshop, I got a SECOND WIND for tackling both the manuscripts I’m writing and editing by attending the Festival of Writing in York this past Saturday and Sunday. In addition to two ten-minute one-to-one meetings with a literary agent and published author (the latter being Charles Darwin’s great-great-granddaughter, no less), I attended several workshops on topics like plotting, pacing, and marketability. It gave me gobs of food for thought, so I’ll share what smattering of notes and resources I can with you.

Finally, while I admittedly didn’t churn any creativity out during the month of February for Write 1 Sub 1, I feel I’ve gotten a SECOND CHANCE this month thanks to my sister-in-law, as fate would have it. This ridiculously talented lady is a graphic designer by day and painter, photographer, and potter by night. Her latest endeavor is to create a website for her lovely pottery, and instead of presenting each with an ordinary catalog-type description, she’s opted to pair them with short stories inspired by their design and function. So guess who’s the lucky gal who gets to write these?! I’ve written five short-short pieces so far with five to go (as far as I know), so hopefully these will be appearing online by mid-April. While I still aim to write stories for submission to literary publications in subsequent months, I’m hoping this gig at least covers me for March.

All right, time to shut my yapper. Just a preview of more posts to come after I take a SECOND to catch my breath… 😉

What’s on your writing agenda these days? Any writing firsts or seconds to celebrate this month?

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About thefallenmonkey

Primate that dapples in writing when not picking others' fleas or flinging its own poop. View all posts by thefallenmonkey

22 responses to “The Second Coming: If at First You Don’t Succeed, Write and Write Again

  • Alannah Murphy

    Oh you got to meet Emma Darwin huh? Isn’t she nice? I attended a Writer’s Workshop with her and Debi Alper many moons ago (March 09 to be be exact) and found them both great and so helpful.

    Been wanting to attend that York festival but I’ve not had the money in the past 2 years sniff sniff sniff

    Living the life of a starving artist is getting on me nerves, wish I could figure out a way to use my writing skills to get me a job instead of applying for crap jobs I am not getting anyway but I digress…

    Anyway, really glad to hear how busy you are and that you’re writing a second MS. I have two novels, one was written in NanoWrimo, and I will one day, get around to editing it, because it’s a cool love story, set in the world of rock music, I’m telling ya, me and my rock boys, I just love them lol…

    • thefallenmonkey

      Rock on with your rock boys! I think music adds an awesome element to a love story—in fact, that’s what I loved most about that first manuscript I edited (the POV of which I’m now trying to defend to the death!), as the author has the characters’ romance play out against a backdrop of “retrofit blues.” The descriptions of the instrumentation and singing is so lovely and just adds this whole new level of expression between the characters, not to mention adds a cool soundtrack playing through my head when I read. 🙂 I love it, so you definitely have to run with what you’ve written!

      That’s wild you met with Emma Darwin, too! She is super cool, much more laid-back than I’d expected. And her feedback was great—really thorough and straight-shooting. She told me what I needed to hear as far as where I need to improve, yet was gracious enough to bundle it in compliments as well, which is how I take criticism best :).

      I really did enjoy the one-on-ones and workshops at the festival, though regretfully I feel like I didn’t optimize the opportunity there because I’m just so not one to corner an agent and pitch my idea. I know people walk away from that event with representation, but I’m way too intimidated to make that happen for myself, so I think before I’d spend the money on something like that again, I’d put it toward a professional edit of my manuscript to support my querying that way.

  • Milo James Fowler

    “ms #2 is providing my mind a healthy diversion for a while” — sometimes we really need it! And you’re right about an author’s “first” book not actually being his/her “first”; I’ve heard that, too. And in my case, it hasn’t been my second, third, or fourth, either. But then again, I have been distracted by writing short fiction as of late…

    As far as anything celebratory goes, that remains to be seen; but I am cramming for a due date: Pill Hill Press’s How the West Was Wicked anthology closes to submissions this Thursday. They rejected my sub last week, but I pounded another one out yesterday, and I hope to have it revised and subbed in time. Wish me luck!

    • thefallenmonkey

      Good luck, indeed! The title of that anthology alone sounds so cool; I don’t doubt you’ve got the right material for it. That’s phenomenal you’ve written four books—I have faith something will come of them yet, and your success in short fiction might be just the conduit!

  • Eva

    My, you are a busy bee! Your projects all sound lovely though. Go, second ms! Yes, I heard about that too, first ones hardly ever making it as real firsts. I hope my second one will be more successful.
    On my own projects – I was kept busy by moving between cities and hardly had time for anything else these days. Catching up now, meeting agent on feedback on my current ms on Thursday and hoping it will go ok. Then back to write. That’s the plan anyway….
    Good luck with yours!

    • thefallenmonkey

      Congratulations on making your move!! I am very eager to hear your Munich observations. And good luck at your meeting tomorrow! Also, am I making this up, or didn’t you mention at some point in a comment or on your blog that you’re working on ms #3 as well? Such a prolific writer! Great envy :). Thanks for the luck, and you know I’m sending some right back at ya.

  • glen

    And here we see the difference between real writers and chancers like me 🙂

    • thefallenmonkey

      NONSENSE. Glen, I left that writing festival feeling like, “Who in hell do I think I am?” Felt totally unworthy being among the ranks of the writing powers-that-be there, but I think that’s a normal insecurity for all of us. If we love it and do it, that’s the sign of a calling, and you have it!

  • Matt J

    Good stuff. Congrats on your March W1S1 productivity!

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  • tahliaN

    Yep. A few sort of firsts. Sent my ms to my agent – again – but it’s done, and went back to draft 3 of my sequel – not exactly a first but it’s – wow – around 2 years since I worked on it. My God this is taking so long!!!! It sure is a matter of try try and try again.

    • thefallenmonkey

      Sending you a cyber high-five, Tahlia! I truly hope Lethal Inheritance in its new incarnation will succeed with the publishers. The fact that you’ve earned representation and have put so much thoughtful revision into it speaks much to your ability and promise. Good luck revising the sequel—so great that you’re revisiting it after all this time! And what’s the status on your other manuscript that takes place in the castle? That one has me so intrigued as well.

  • Nicki

    Nice theme—you always manage to tie everything so nicely together. I almost e-mailed you to ask you about all these things—and the things to come—so I’m glad I checked here and saved you the trouble of saying “Hey dumbass it’s at my blog.” (the dumbass politely under your breath, of course).

    I’m looking so forward to hearing what you’ve learned at conference, and I think moving onto the next project is the very best thing a writer can do. What we love is the writing, not the selling and promoting of it.

    P.S. I’m so very happy you enjoyed the Harry Potter Finer Things Club video. 🙂

    • thefallenmonkey

      I’ve totally been meaning to write ya, Nicki, so I’m glad you did at least see some updates here. This week has been manic, and I’m trying not to go blind again :).

      Oh, and you’re HPFTC video is brilliant—what a good auntie you are to get our newest member so excited! Seriously, that gave me a good laugh.

      I have to run for another flipping weekend excursion (this is getting annoying now–too much work to do!!!), but I had a chat with the ME about the POV, so I’ll have to fill you in…OH! And I was told (by Darwin herself) that my 3rd-to-1st person switch is perfectly fine!!! She almost looked like she thought I was crazy for asking, said the shift is perfectly obvious, so it’s not a problem. And the two stories make her curious to read more to see how they connect. Ha!

  • Nicki

    In keeping w/ your theme, I’m leaving a SECOND comment,hehe (Yes, the mysterious Nicki above is me, I typed in my e-mail wrong).

    Anyhow, forgot to say how totally cool that is that you’re writing those stories for M’s art website! I can’t wait to get to read them.

  • Sparklecat

    Yay to the March Martians! Onward and upward!

  • D.M. Bonanno

    The story series sounds like an interesting challenge. Have fun with it. 😀

    • thefallenmonkey

      Thanks, D.M.! Yeah, it’s been interesting coming up with bite-sized stories to give personality to inanimate objects—it’s a variation on writing prompts, which I’ve always like to follow anyway. 🙂

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