Struggles With a Manuscript

It is time to ‘fess up. Forty thousand plus words into Raider of the Scottish Coast and I’m struggling with the manuscript. Some passages flew right off the keyboard. I like it so far overall, but there are flaws.

A short notice commitment to write a feature article on how ski resorts can attract more senior skiers – skiers over the age of 54 – to attract more new skiers of all ages. As a group, senior skiers are 16% of the total skier population and ski just over 46% of the total skier days.

The piece is for Ski Area Management gave me a needed break from Raider of the Scottish Coast. For about a week, alarm bells had been going off.

Bong, bong – it was becoming a travelog built around the adventures of John Paul Jones.

Bong, Bong – the American hero wasn’t being developed as fast as the British one.

Bong, Bong – there wasn’t a character flaw or trait that drove tension and conflict.

It took about forty-eight hours to sort through the key bullets of the story line for Ski Area Management and come up with enough bullets around which to write the article. The next day as in yesterday, I sat down and wrote the first draft that had to be between 1.500 and 2,000 words. First pass was 1,800, perfecto!

After this blog is published, I’ll go through it again because it needs tweaking. Sentences will be added, deleted, modified and expect as I edit it, more material will be added. The deadline is this coming Friday, so I have time to polish and tweak it.

Did the break help Raider of the Scottish Coast? The jury is still out, but yes. My brain worked out how to end the John Paul Jones travelog. This will set off a chain reaction in the story to develop the character of what the British refer as one of the ‘damned rebels’. So two “bongs” may be killed with one stone.

In the process, I should be able work in a character flaw. One possibility hit me literally in the middle of the night after I made my middle of night trip to the bathroom and was lying there, trying to go back to sleep.

That’s probably TMI but even when I physically stop writing a book in any stages, parts of my brain don’t. Ideas pop into my head while I’m walking my dog or in the past, dogs, driving, working out and at odd moments during the day. Some are good, some are bad and some passed through my conscious and can’t remember. Often, I wonder what those were and if they reappeared as part of another idea.

So, in a day or so, it is back to the decks of a square rigged sailing ship writing about hauling yardarms, wearing ships and spotting the enemy, two points of the ‘larboard bow.

Marc Liebman

November 2018

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.