Friday, October 26, 2012

Storyteller's Journey

A Literary Ghost from the Past

My very first manuscript was an adventure fantasy entitled: The Tale of Willaby Creek. Like many first attempts at writing the result was weak at best. However, I still love the premise of the story since it was inspired by one of my favorite places: Willaby Creek in the Olympic National Forest of Washington State. The story's cast is made up of anthropomorphic animals, a dryad, two humans, and a Spirit-Bear.

From time to time I have thought about that first manuscript: like a ghost that keeps visiting me from the past. But is my musing based on a good story, or just sentimental memories of a favorite place?
Over a year ago, I received a critique for The Tale of Willaby Creek from a person in the publishing world that I respect very much. She recognized some talent in my writing, but felt my story may not interest children and would be difficult to market. Since that time I have had a number of ideas float through my mind on how I might give my story a major makeover. But would it be the best use of my time?

Have you ever successfully rewritten one of your old manuscripts?

6 comments:

  1. Yes! Yes! The manuscript that I got my agent with, the same one she is trying to sell now, is an old manuscript that I just got the notion to go over and do whatever rewrites and revisions necessary. Do it!

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    1. Wow, Loree, that is so cool. I will definitelly take your advice. I have two manuscripts (including the one I mentioned) and a PB (that my husband illustrated) to consider for submission. Hopefully next year one of those stories will attract the attention of an agent! Have a great weekend!

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  2. This is a hard question and one I've not had experience answering yet. I have heard of people who have gone back and rewritten a beloved early novel and were able to get it published. Personally, if I can't sell my current MS I know I'll want to revisit it when I've learned more. I love and believe in it enough to believe it is possible, even if I don't have the skills yet.

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    1. Thanks for your insight, Sara. I'm in a similar situation: I am working on my WIP with the hope that it has a better chance of attracting an agent since it is written much better than the story I mentioned above. (It is also definitely much more marketable.) However, I have pledged to myself that no matter what happens I will polish my existing works...before I start something new!

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  3. If you love the story, don't abandon it. Also, even though you respect the opinion of the person who gave you the advice that the story might not interest children, it is still only one person's opinion. When I had my first full response, the agent said my MC was "too grown up." Another agent, after reading the same unchanged manuscript, said my MC acted and thought the way a 12-year-old in her situation should. On another note, a different agent said she wanted to hug my MC after reading the manuscript. Yet, another agent said she had a hard time feeling sorry for her. One manuscript, four agents, four different opinions. It's all subjective. :)

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    1. This idea of subjectivity seems to be screaming on my radar screen right now. My best writing buddy recently had a similar experience to the one you described. It's a good reminder to stay true to your own path. I really appreciate your insight. Thanks, Linda!

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