Monday, April 19, 2010

Impending Shapes



It is worth mentioning, for future reference,

that the creative power
which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book
quiets down after a time,
and one goes on more steadily.
Doubts creep in.

Then one becomes resigned.
Determination not to give in
and the sense of an impending shape
keep one at it more than anything.
~Virginia Woolf


Writing books is like a having a relationship - first comes daydreaming and euphoria, followed by continuous joy, followed by contentment, followed by occasional boredom paired with strong commitment. To me, the key here is strong commitment.

Trudge through the muck of revisions and the wait-time of querying. Keep molding and re-molding the "impending shape" of your MS until it becomes what it is meant to be. Then remain committed for the long haul.

What does your relationship with your MS look like right now?

61 comments:

Stephanie Thornton said...

Well, I was almost ready to commit murder last week, but we made it through that without any bloodshed. It's a long-term relationship, one with ups and downs.

Love the picture- I totally feel that way! But my room comes with a jacket with nice long sleeves. Extra warm and comfy. :)

Crystal Cook said...

I LOVE this post!! Everything you said is so true! Just what I needed to hear.

Me and my MS are on good terms right now, we had a rocky patch about two weeks ago, but we're working it out :)

Courtney Barr - The Southern Princess said...

Shannon - THIS IS AWESOME!! Goodness knows I love Virginia Woolf

My current relationship is we are feeling each other out at a pivotal point in direction.

Visit My Kingdom Anytime

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

We're in that comfortable, know each other really well, stage. It's nice. I like that quote "impending shape." That's the thing that keeps me going through revisions. I can just barely see what's coming and want to see it more clearly. Great post!

Christine Danek said...

This is a great post. I think I'm starting to fall back in love with my WiP. Revisions have made the relationship rocky but I'm not giving up.
Thanks I needed this.

CMOM Productions said...

My MS is starting to communicate with me a bit more in recent days. We weren't speaking for a while though. :)

Kimberly Franklin said...

It's all good right now! And I love that poster. I mean, LOVE it!!

Shari said...

I think my ms and I are at that learning how to communicate stage. We are figuring out how to give and take.

I find this a very interesting way to look at my ms. I'd never thought of it as a relationship, but it absolutely is!

Jonathon Arntson said...

My MS and I totally just made up - hot and steamy style - after a three week separation left us feeling lonely. It's been incredible. I jumped ahead about 100 pages and started writing the book's most pivotal scene and I had no idea how liberating it would be to just jump to the part I want to write and skip the parts that need to come before. Those can wait until later, apparently.

If this makes zero sense to you, then we're in the same boat.

Jennie Englund said...

That's a really good question, Shannon! I love your questions. They make me think.

Me and Drain, we're on good terms right now. Revising the first third seemed way easier than the chunk in the middle. Why is that?
Is that how it usually goes?

Angela said...

I couldn't agree more. The only thing that seperates the published from the unpublished is determination to not give up. You keep at it, you succeed, It is that simple.

And hard. But that's why post like yours are so important--they remind us of the prize, and our love for writing.

Kasie West said...

I LOVE that poster. Hilarious. I think I need a "special room". Me and my MS are on a break right now. But if it cheats on me during that break it will be dead to me. Me, on the other hand, I'm messing around with another MS (shh, don't tell).

Angie Paxton said...

Slogging through some of the stuff that I didn't know about when I got involved in the relationship. Really it should have been more up front with me about what it was all about when we first started.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

My MS and I are currently undergoing some counseling. When it returns from crit. land, I'm hoping we'll be able to visit a few agents together soon.

Kenda said...

I think my mss and I are going through the teen-age years--struggling to find even footing with each other but determined to see this stage through to the end!

Thanks for the post, Shannon. I'm encouraged by it...

Carolyn V. said...

Right now I am writing my last chapter, and I love it. I'll have the revisions next and will probably want to break up.
Writings funny that way!

Aubrie said...

Great advice! Right now I'm in the muck of the middle.

Southpaw said...

We are still quite happy with each other.

Sara McClung ♥ said...

THIS is an awesome post! I feel like my MS and I have just gotten past the 7 year itch... Where we felt like quitting on each other bc we'd been around each other for SO long (ok not 7 years, more like 9 months) and were bored--but have found the excitement once again, lol. It *could* be because I'm pretty close to the big Q day...

Heather said...

I'm in the final editing stages of my latest manuscript and still loving it. I hope to have it off to my agent for consideration by the end of the week! So I guess I'm still in the excited stage!

Valerie Geary said...

I love that poster! I think I need to get myself one of those.... Also I adore Virginia. :) As for my manuscript... we're like teens in love--ogling and snuggling, when we're apart it feels like the world is going to collapse. Sigh... *dreamy eyes*

Jonathon Arntson said...

Shannon - I am not sure what your comment on my blog means.

Lydia Kang said...

I'm in the revising stage I feel like my MS and I are like a bickering couple. Sometimes happy, sometimes irritated by each other!

Kathi Oram Peterson said...

Very true what you've said about shaping a manuscript. Right now I'm working on a screenplay. That's a totally different animal, but still fun. It's coming along very well, since I have my book to help me out.
Thanks for the great post. You always make me think.

Katie Ganshert said...

Right now I'm a bit confused...my manuscript is a big giant tease. I'm trying to get to know my MC, but she's playing hard to get. I'm quite infatuated, but I can't figure out what she wants from me!

Julie Dao said...

I have a love-hate relationship with my manuscript! But we're working at it with all our might :)

Bish Denham said...

So true, so true.

Kelly said...

Great post, Shannon!
Me and my MS are tight right now. We spent all weekend together!

T. Anne said...

What a great post! Right now i'm wondering if we were meant to be... I'm sure edits will tell me. ;)

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

I am beginning to see the shape, 37k words in, and I am trying to hold on for dear life!

Jessie Oliveros said...

I have to remind myself of this commitment right now. I've spent too much time away from my MS.

Wendy aka Quillfeather. said...

Another little gem of a post, Shannon :)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Really good. We're at the "work at it" stage, but we're still in love. We have many promises to fulfill.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Really good. We're at the "work at it" stage, but we're still in love. We have many promises to fulfill.

Helen Ginger said...

I think you might say we're in therapy right now. The therapist (me) is tearing the relationship apart and re-organizing it and finding the flaws and weaknesses.

Helen
Straight From Hel

E. Elle said...

We're on the outs, kind of. He's been keeping me up at night and I think he's mad because I'm kicking him in my sleep. We'll work it out though; we are definitely in it for the "long haul."

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Love this post. After my 3rd round of revisions I'm in a self-imposed week rest phase but itching to revise again. My betas want me to query.
Thank you for reminding me about the long haul:)

elizabeth mueller said...

Right now it's on the nitpicking stage. LOL. I am battling him for every detail, quirk and wrong he is doing! (3rd draft--LOL)

I am fine-tuning every sentence to perfection and it feel so time consuming, but it's so worth the end product!

Cute post!!

Tina Lynn said...

This comes at just the right time. I was feeling all oogy. Anyhoo, I'm still slogging through the first draft and all my little epiphanies (I'm a panster) are what keeps me going right now.

Tara said...

Funny, last weekend I explained my writing/MS to my SIL using this metaphor :)

Right now, I've filed for separation from my MS and I am considering divorce. Ugh.

Don't worry, we'll go to counseling and be just fine, hopefully even find our passion again *grin*

Roland D. Yeomans said...

I am in the final revision stage. I know that should a publisher buy my manuscript, they will want me to revise, revise, and revise yet again. So to remove one of those "revive's" out of the equation, I am looking at my manuscript as I imagine a publisher would.

May your writing dreams come true, Roland

Bossy Betty said...

We aren't speaking. I think we need counseling.

Jaydee Morgan said...

I'm squabbling with mine at the moment - but in for the long haul.

Great post!

Charmaine Clancy said...

My MS is pretty good to me, we enjoy a good laugh together, especially when we make humungous mistakes - like the time we got through 3/4s of the book with only one suspect for our so-called 'mystery' (good times). Mind you, MS is pretty good at making me feel bad, never complains about being neglected, but just gives me 'that look'. I'd better play with it today :-)
Loved this post Shannon!

Jen said...

Shady... yup my MS is shady at the moment. It continues to hide key information from me and my MC doesn't do a think to help it along, I have a lot of cleaning up to do and sometimes I don't think they enjoy being messed with. I know when it's all said and done and they are cleaned up they will thank me, until then let the games begin!

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, I love that definition of relationship. Strong commitment is where I'm at right now. :-)

Shelley Sly said...

Ooh, very insightful! My MS and I are wayyy past the honeymoon stage and have definitely had our arguments, but we're pretty civil most of the time. Only recently have we begun to rekindle the love we had when we'd first met. ;)

Susan Fields said...

Great thoughts to keep me going when the going get rough! I'd say right now, my MS and I are in the contentment phase, and occasional boredom is lurking in the wings, but the commitment is there.

Christi Goddard said...

If my WIP had a finger, it'd be jabbing it into my shoulder visciously to get my attention and make me get back to work. Today's sort of a blah day. I'm full on Mexican food and feel more like reading than writing.

Portia said...

Oh, interesting question. Right now, I'm on friendly terms with my new manuscript, but we're about to take the next step and get to know each other a lot better ;-)

Tahereh said...

"Writing books is like a having a relationship - first comes daydreaming and euphoria, followed by continuous joy, followed by contentment, followed by occasional boredom paired with strong commitment. To me, the key here is strong commitment."

WOW.

i literally couldn't have said it better myself.
genius.

<33

thanks for the lift :D

Tabitha Bird said...

Steel determination- that is my and my MS right now.

Thank you for your comments on my blog. It is wonderful to be back reading your words :)

Roxane B. Salonen said...

Shannon, well, I have to admit, I'm playing the field a little bit right now. My beloved WIP needed a rest from me, and I from it, so we've agreed to a little separation. I'm not ready to say goodbye, though. I think there is a great possibility for our future. Meantime, I've been caught this other WIP flirting with me recently. I'm starting to think this could be "the next one" and am trying to read the nonverbal cues. Let's just say we're not yet in a relationship, but hope to be soon. :) (Okay, now, this is starting to sound VERY strange and I'm starting to feel very guilty. :) When it comes to our books, we can't really expect to be committed to only one, can we? Maybe thinking of them as our children is better. We can expand our hearts to allow more than one into our lives!)

Myrna Foster said...

Thanks for this post! I'm committed, but I'm taking a little break to let someone else write notes on it while I write notes on theirs. :)

Sophia said...

The only relationship analogy I can come up with is that I'm trying to get my MS to put out and then I'm gonna dump it. Or in normal terms, I just want to finish. I have no grand aims of revision and publishing, I just want to do it. Harsh.
- Sophia.

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Yeah, writing is definitely not for the commitment phobic. ;)

Hardygirl said...

Oh, we're committed. For better or for worse . . .

sf

VR Barkowski said...

Excellent analogy.

We were almost at the altar, my ms and I. Completely head over heels.Then I learned the truth: the ms hadn't been completely honest with me. I got cold feet, backed away. Now I can't decide whether to forgive and forget. Don't know if I can commit knowing what I now know.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Oh, dear. Right now it's like a long marriage that needs a little work around the edges. I love it; it's mine, but it can stand some tweaking to make it better.

Thanks for asking!

Simon C. Larter said...

I'm in the commitment stage. Except I keep cheating on my novel with cute little flash fictions. I know it's wrong of me, but I can't help myself. I'm only a man, for goodness' sake! Don't judge me. *sigh*

Zoe C. Courtman said...

Oh this is a GREAT metaphor!! My relationship with my MS is tortured, all-consuming, tainted-love-playing-in-the-background passion. And I loves it. Great post!!

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