WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’VE GONE MANUSCRIPT BLIND

IMG_20130728_113951Perspective. It’s abstract yet it’s everything. It’s what keeps our writing fresh and makes it relevant. It’s what gives our stories that malleability to conform to whatever we want or need it to be and it’s what causes an agent to fall in love with or instantly disconnect with our work. Perspective is essential, yet if we lose it we are spinning our wheels in the proverbial mud that is our WIP. So how do we get it?

Make sure people are looking at your writing.

Many of us are quiet about our endeavors in writing. We tell ourselves we will be more outward with it when we are finally published. (Mostly because we’re tired of answering the question: “Oh, you write? Where is your book sold?”) But if we want to be able to answer that question with a resounding “BARNES AND NOBLE” then you have to let other people see your work. We lack the perspective as humans to stay objective toward our own work. We need a fresh eye and a different outlook. You might be influencing your characters to act the way you would in a certain situation while others would do it differently. Letting other people read our manuscript, opens us up to a whole new range of scenarios for our characters. Think of other people’s input on your MS as deposits into an idea bank. You don’ t have to spend them if you don’t want to but the ideas are there when you need them.

Contests

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Contests are not for the weak of heart. It can be discouraging when you don’t even make it passed the initial selection rounds, however, many contests come with fantastic (and not so fantastic) feedback from published authors, editors, bloggers and the reading public in general. I have been at the place where I worked so hard on a manuscript that the words didn’t even look like words anymore. I had gone manuscript blind. Perspective from contests (even when we don’t win the contest) give us insight to issues with the MS that we couldn’t see before.

Take Criticism

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If someone told you your baby was ugly you’d punch them in the face. Okay, maybe you wouldn’t but you sure as heck wouldn’t give them roses. Our manuscripts are our babies – our blood, sweat and tears – but we MUST learn to take criticism for them. After all, our readers are why we write and if they don’t “get it” then we aren’t doing our job. I say this with total subjectivity. Of course, we don’t write to please all readers but we must be open to change for the sake of the reader if  it’s not compromising our voice or the integrity of our work.

Take a step back for saturation’s sake!

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I know you would never abandon your child and that’s what it feels like when you walk away from a manuscript but sometimes taking a step back to work on another project for a while – and I mean a while – can bring all the perspective we need. It’s the best thing we can do for ourselves and the WIP.

What about you? How do you find perspective? I’d love to try your techniques.

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9 thoughts on “WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU’VE GONE MANUSCRIPT BLIND

  1. Great post Margie… and I say, why not have it all… in reply to ‘finding a niche’… Yes our perspective is something we can own and sometimes people like it and at others times not… but that doesn’t matter… as long as we stay true to our story, our imaginative story… writing about our potential… cause that’s what it boils down to… and if we are passionate enough about our story it will all come true… (that’s why I don’t understand people writing sad and violent parts or endings in stories…) Everyone is unique and has another perspective based on their journey… so really their opinion about our story will be based on their perspective and not ours… so will be different, like I mentioned just now, it either resonates with them or not… Thanks so much for coming by my blog and liking my answers on Project O… I would love us to be friends… and I for one will enjoy following your journey of having and enjoying it all… Barbara

  2. I think getting someone to read it back to you (out loud) is incredible. Course I have to do this with actors (screenplays) but I think it could work for your writing as well. But I think you’re right. It is essential people read your work.

  3. Perspective is HARD! And what happens to me a lot is that I write and then read advice on blogs and Twitter and then decide I’ve done it all wrong and must do it over, but then I can’t because I hate cutting up my baby (gross, sorry) so I just stare at it until the letters dance and I decide I’ve done enough for the day and nothing is accomplished. Phew. What helps me the most is going back to the books I love and reading them, working on pinpointing what it is I love about them, and figuring out how I emulate that in my own writing. If that doesn’t work, I get the heck out of my house and away from my computer and come back at it with fresh eyes the next day. Having others read helps as well, since they tend to notice things I don’t, or questions things that *obviously* I already know because I created the characters. In the end though, you know your characters and your world the best 🙂

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