What to do when your manuscript punches back

Return the favor.

I had one of those semi-successful, yet only semi-successful writing sessions this afternoon. I was ready to go, working on a play this time, seemingly knowing what I was going to do with these scenes when all of the sudden …


The manuscript hit me right in the nose. Undaunted, I put my head down and plucked away at those keys trying to let the story know who was boss. Then it happened again.


“Okay, I get your point, but I still think this should happen.”


It asserted itself like any championship fight not held rather recently. Finally, it had my attention, and it forced me to listen. What I was writing wasn’t going to work.

My character was saying one thing but my words were saying another. I just wanted to continue on obliviously, hoping it would all work out, but manuscripts are funny. They are in control, and if you don’t listen to them, you will end up with a bunch of insincere dribble. Yes, it may cost you a lot of time, but is the price of your writing soul so easily cast aside?

I think not. So here’s what to do when your manuscript hits back:

1) Listen to what it’s telling you. You most likely already know that it isn’t working. Be honest with yourself. Rewind and try something new.

2) Be happy. Your manuscript is like your conscience. It knows things that you don’t yet want to realize. Be happy that you have a little friend who is telling you that your writing stinks and that everything is all wrong.

3) Punch back. Dig down and tell that manuscript that it may have won today’s round, but that you will be back, smarter, more agile, and with more weapons in your arsenal. Don’t let a manuscript defeat you after a few short jabs to the jaw – or writing arm. Wait it out and knock it out of the park (if I can mix my sports metaphors).


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