There’s Always One….

Marrying Money

Latest Romantic Comedy from Glenys O'Connell

There’s always one…. A politician I know once said there’s always one difficult heckler in a crowd. A teacher friend claims there’s always one disruptive kid in the class. And now I wonder if every writer has one problem manuscript, too….

It’s the one that somehow never seems to be quite right, somehow. You know it has promise and can’t bring yourself to dump it, but no amount of rewriting, cutting, pasting, and analyzing seems to make it fit to land smiling hopefully on an editor’s desk. I have one – it’s a cozy detective mystery and it’s driving me crazy. Other books have been written and published, their glitches ironed out and plot points smoothed.

 But this book – I can’t even get the title right – it lurks deep in whatever the computer equivalent is of the bottom desk drawer, sulking but never quite forgotten. I’ve rewritten the beginning three times; the ending at least as many times. I’ve tried different time scales, played around with the love interest and the events outline. I’ve asked editors and writers I respect to read it and acted on their recommendations. Still it remains impervious to all my tweaking.

There’s so much I like about this book – and so much I’d rather forget….yet I simply cannot consign it to the compost heap. Now I’m dusting it off for one final time – I have an idea that may solve its problems. Now I can almost hear my Internal Editor sniggering about how many times I’ve said that before for this manuscript. Maybe, just maybe, I have to accept the fact that nothing can be done to save this book. Maybe there’s always one……

On the bright side, my romantic comedy/chicklit mystery Marrying Money: Lady Diana’s Story is coming out in March from the Red Rose Publishing. It’s the first of a two-book series. The second is called Common Wealth: Sally’s Story.

What do you think? Do you have a ‘troubled child manuscript’ that won’t allow itself to be polished and finished? Have you found a solution? Love to hear from you!


11 Responses to “There’s Always One….”

  1. 1 Carolyn Haley
    22 February, 2010 at 1:02 am

    Oh yes, I have one of those. Make that two!

    The first novel, I went through all the wrestling, wrangling, and angst you describe — but for 28 years! The only solution was to keep on trying. (Quote tacked on wall over desk: “I haven’t failed; I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”)

    I tackled the book from multiple directions, recast it to (not) fit different genres, went through dozens of painful critiques, rewrote it almost 20 times, including at least 10 beginning changes and 5 ending changes. I KNEW the story was in there but just couldn’t get it out!

    But one day it all came together. I didn’t need to fuss with it any more. And that’s when the rejections stopped. Now it’s a real book out there in the real world.

    The second novel is actually the first novel. I wrote it when very young (teens) and also took it through many configurations trying to get it right. I finally parked it in the drawer when almost 30, when the other novel took over my interest. Now I’m wondering whether to go back to it or enjoy starting something fresh. I still don’t know what to do with it . . . and without the ferocious passion that kept me going on the now-published one, I don’t think any efforts made will be worth it.

    Common wisdom says that some books just aren’t meant to be finished or published. That’s probably true. But if I believed that wholeheartedly, there would be two books moldering in the drawer, not one.

  2. 2 Zohra Saeed
    22 February, 2010 at 5:58 am

    All I want to say as a recently published author. This is very encouraging. I have one story that had mov ed on really really well. When we moved to Bahrain – six years ago – i lost the disc – there were almost 200 pages written. I was devastated. However, I have a good amount of it in hard copy, but ever since all that work disappeared I can’t seem to pick it up again, it’s as if the energy of the story or the life of it died. It was very close to my heart but I literally pick it up, read a bit and just put it down again. Perhaps some day…
    Zohra / Rohini

  3. 22 February, 2010 at 4:31 pm

    Do you have critique partners or trusted readers? My critique partners whip me into shape time after time when I’m stuck in never never land. Brainstorming really works.

  4. 22 February, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    I think all writers who’ve been writing a while have one of those uncooperative works. If we’re lucky, it’s only one. LOL At present, I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth the time to fix one or whether my time would be better spent moving on to another book.

    By the way, I want to thank you for help you offered me years ago on a western historical in which the heroine is Irish. You gave me some great info. That book, THE TEXAN’S IRISH BRIDE, has now been through final galleys at The Wild Rose Press and I expect soon to learn it’s release date.

    Caroline Clemmons

  5. 22 February, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    I can’t tell you how many I have thrown away!

  6. 7 Becky
    22 February, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    The book sounds great! I’m sure you’ll figure it all out!

  7. 23 February, 2010 at 12:07 am

    All mine are children, that’s for sure. Then again, a good serving of chocolate always tends to calm them 🙂

    Great post!



  8. 23 February, 2010 at 12:16 am

    Couldn’t let you be lonely sp I came on over from Twitter to comment 🙂

    And Carolyn: loved your quote!

    It is too soon to know if my #1 and #2 mss are that ms. But for now, I’ve put them aside and sent out #3.

    But I’m guessing you’ll get yours to work. Don’t give up! (ANd congrats on the ones that ARE going to see the light of day!)

  9. 23 February, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Oh, I know *exactly* what you mean!!! You should see my pile of files from “the story that won’t take form and won’t die.” I believe that those can be the seeds of later stores and novels that really are good, but it is so frustrating, isn’t it, when you can’t seem to fix them.

    I agree that some things we write are not meant to be finished, but I also believe that they shouldn’t be deleted; they can be the basis for something good at another time.

  10. 23 February, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Yes! I have one that I love, I’ve invested literally years of research, and agents and editors have loved the premise too, but it just doesn’t work! Arrrghh! What’s wrong with it?
    Beside my desk is a corkboard with pictures and sayings, one of which is: never never never give up. That’s my creed. 🙂

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