Exactly a year from tomorrow, I started the manuscript that got me into Pitch Wars and landed me an agent. I never thought that MS would lead to all this, but it did, and it's so humbling to think about.
Funny enough, last year I was working on a contemporary story that just wasn't working. I went to the SCBWI WWA conference hoping to get some inspiration to finish the darn thing, but instead, I left with inspiration to shelve it and start over.
I say it's funny because I find myself in the same situation now. I finished A DIFFERENT KIND OF UNIVERSE, my latest WIP, and sent it to CP's. A few days later I got an e-mail from one of my CP's who expressed concerns for my MS after reading a couple of chapters. I had mixed feelings upon finishing the MS, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. (Now, if you haven't heard the saying, 'A CP is worth their weight in gold,' then I'm telling you now, because my CP Krystal is just that.) She suggested that we talk and discuss my MS and I agreed.
Her concerns for my MS were all 100% valid. Even I could see her points for why it wasn't working. In her critique, she was completely honest which I appreciated. It takes a true CP who has your best interests at heart to let you know that the MS was lacking. When it comes to reading/writing everything is always subjective, but I heeded her advice because she hit the head on the nail on why I didn't feel great about finishing: the story lacked my heart and passion. She could see through my writing that I wasn't into the story, and I guess my gut reaction when I finished should have told me that. But I was stubborn. I wanted to finish something. I was bouncing from one idea to another but then I'd quit. So when the ADKOU came along, I made it my goal to finish, but halfway through the story I didn't fall in love with the story like I thought I would, so how could I expect someone else to?
It was an important lesson in writing for me. A story is not just composed of plot, characters, motivations, settings, and etc; it's also composed with love. Corny as it sounds, you have to love the story passionately, because if you do, it will get finished--not because you need to make a daily word count, but because the story demands to be told. Your heart yearns for it to be fully realized. Your heart wants to triumph with your characters, it wants to fall in love, it wants to overcome whatever conflicts arise.
When I think about the poems and stories that I've written, my favorites are always the ones where I put a little of myself into, where my heart beats in between the words.
So, now, a year later. I am shelving a story and starting over. Maybe the next MS will capture my heart, demand to be told, and a year from now it'll take me somewhere I didn't expect to be.