Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Your manuscript is a dragon scarf

Knitting is hard. Just throwing that out there. It's deceiving too.

You see that pattern and it just looks cool and who doesn't want a dragon scarf?! Maybe you don't know how to knit, but according to your sources, this is actually a good pattern to start with. Lots of basic stitches. Screw potholders! You will have a dragon around you neck. This scarf will be EPIC.

The first rows go good, you're in the zone. This seems easier than expected! You're a prodigy--a god of knitting. This doesn't last long. Suddenly you're dropping stitches and you don't know why. For some reason, your brain went away and you purled that entire row when you were supposed to knit halfway through! The potholder is starting to look better. You actually do need potholders. Maybe if you just worked on a potholder for a while . . .


Let's imagine for a minute that the dragon scarf is my manuscript and that the potholder is my shiny new idea.

Writers like to jump around between story ideas. We can't help it. Writing can suck, and unlike a dragon scarf, there's no picture of the finished project to push us forward. We have to stitch words together with the hope that maybe, like the scarf, our story will be EPIC in the end.

But so many people stop halfway through. I'm guilty of it, are you? When things get hard, it's easy to back down. But trust me, you shouldn't. A finished scarf, even with dropped stitches and an inconsistent gauge, is always better than a project stowed away for "later." So plug away, suffer and force yourself to work, because it will always be worth it in the end.

Have you ever knit anything other than words? Are there unfinished manuscripts hiding in notebooks under your bed?

In case you're wondering, here's my dragon scarf so far:

Can you see it? There's a dragon hiding in there!


Kate said...

Awesome post Sarah! The dragon is looking so cool....

Eric Satchwill said...

I had a hat I was knitting once... don't know where its half-finished corpse is now. There's also part of a sports jacket languishing in storage. Fortunately, writing is something I AM keeping up with, even if I have to drag my manuscript and netbook with me everywhere I go so I remember to work on it.

Annerb said...

Wow. Just. . . wow. That's a fantastic metaphor. I'm jealous of that post.

Beth Barany said...

I'm jealous of this post too. But I couldn't have written it. I don't knit. Anymore. And when I did that was before, in the pre-I'm a writer phase. I was a kid then, and it was fun. The thing we did as kids, for a spell. And my mom wore the scarves I knit her. and the potholders I crotcheted. Not to show off or anything. Okay. Just a little.

Back to the whole unfinished manuscript thing. Yep. Been there. Done that. In fact my last two manuscripts went nowhere fast, no matter that they were continuations or prequels of a completed novel. Or maybe I just didn't want to admit that one novel about HENRIETTA THE DRAGON SLAYER was enough and move on. Which is what I finally did. And though I'm only in Act 1, 11,000 words in, I'm already getting stuck. I even have a damn story outline, and that doesn't help.

But you have saved me, Sarah. I'm not going to give up on this novel, even though I just was smacked with the fact that my YA paranormal is still just a thinly veiled autobiography.

Maybe I should stick to pure fantasy and sword fights. And dragon fighting.

But not until I work out this plot knot called "need a plot."

Sarah, you and your dragon scarf have saved me.

Susie McCray said...

I don't knit much but I do crochet. There's the beginnings of a great afghan in the backseat of my car. I always plan to work on it but I never seem to get around to it.

I also have several unfinished manuscripts that plan to finish one day.

Hopefully, everything will get done soon which would make me jump for joy.

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