Posted by Orly Konig-Lopez
You finished your Work in Progress. Now what?
If you’re anything like me, you promptly get moody and restless. After all, we’ve just spent months living with our characters, immersed in their lives and talking to them more than family members think normal.
Suddenly we’re done. The End.
You turn on your computer and stare. You file away manuscript drafts and brainstorming notebooks and feel empty. You think about what to do next and it feels hopeless.
That, my friends, is Post Manuscript Syndrome.
You’ll get mixed advice on dealing with it:
Some will tell you to jump into a project immediately.
Others will say to give yourself a break from writing and catch up on that mountain of laundry or clean out your writing space or, here’s a fun little concept, start exercising again.
Yet another group of helpful writer types will suggest to go back to basics and read a book or two on craft or attend a workshop.
All good advice. And none works well for me. Why? Because I also suffer from Pre Manuscript Syndrome.
I’m just not patient enough to hang out and read and think and plan. I need a WIP. (Okay folks, crack the jokes now … ready to continue?)
So I lasso one of the ideas bouncing around in my head and try to tame it.
For me that usually means:
- A sentence or two for the preliminary elevator pitch
- What my main character’s internal and external conflicts are
- Twenty things that will have to happen to my main character during the book (it can be anything from getting a puppy to meeting a new neighbor to conquering a fear or discovering a life altering secret)
Some ideas are ready to be domesticated and the pieces come together easily. The moodiness quickly gives way to excitement and the restlessness settles into determination.
Others dodge every attempt and continue to flit around. Moodiness turns to crankiness. And that’s usually when my husband rolls his eyes and tosses my Writer’s Block sweatshirt at me.
If one idea won’t cooperate though, I’ll try another. I’ve been lucky so far. My Pre manuscript Syndrome episodes have all been short. And relatively painless (for me at least).
How do you transition from one writing project to another? And how do you get that next project moving?