Wednesday, 19 September 2007

How to Massacre your Completed Manuscript

  • Take a complete manuscript (yours, preferably).
  • Choose a starting point (endings are my faves).
  • Move scenes around.
  • Write new emotional scenes, like death scenes. Let us focus on death of cannon fodder 1 (CF).
  • Move scenes around again as CF is still chatting after death. That ain’t cool. Or normal. Unless writing weird paranormal undead romance novel. Then it’s ok (though still kind of weird).
  • Write other scenes to explain death further.
  • Delete old scenes so dead person will no longer speak.
  • Realize old scenes necessary for little thing called plot.
  • Swear once.
  • Swear again.
  • Bring back old scenes.
  • Bring CF back to life.
  • Miss emotional impact of CF’s death.
  • Kill CF off again midway through the manuscript, for no better reason than “because.”
  • Shed a tear at genius of death scene.
  • Realize with some distraught that mid-point death means more removal of CF from end.
  • Swear and swig coffee.
  • Do “Word Find” for CF’s name.
  • Count 15 more re-appearances after death.
  • Break into a sweat.
  • Create secondary character (CF2) in scene before death scene, change name of dying person from CF to CF2, and kill newly create cannon fodder.
  • Delete all occurrences in manuscript of CF out of anger at non-death-cooperation.
  • Stare stunned at own stupidity at having deleted CF completely.
  • Stare stunned some more.
  • Copy death scene into other file, save for a later story, go back to manuscript and don’t save any of the day’s changes.
  • Feel odd sense of accomplishment despite not having actually changed anything in manuscript.
  • Analyze whether need good counseling – seem to like death scenes too much.
  • Shrug and finish coffee.
Of note: Swearing is preferably uttered (or shouted) in the privacy of one's own home and away from innocent ears. Let us be couth about this manuscript massacre.