Sunday, September 18, 2011

Breathing Life Into An Old Manuscript

The old church on Blackhawk Road rested like an old tug boat in a sea of un-mowed grass and weeds. The simple wooden structure stood out in stark contrast of white against its harbor of green. Weeds had slowly begun to encroach the gravel parking lot as well.

Hi everyone, hoping your Sunday is going well.

Yesterday I pulled out an older manuscript which has not been forgotten, it's just that I didn't know what to do with it. I discovered my last work on it was around the years 2003/2004. It's title was Vampire Legacy--rewritten from a work much older and had also had been rejected many times in the '80's.

Seems that when you look at your older work you want to chuck it back into the bin, or closet and forget about it all over again. "What the heck will I do with this?" you wonder. Because maybe in the first place the whole idea was old. Or there were other problems with it and you simply can't get your mind around how to fix those problems which lead to more rejections than you can shake a red pencil at.

My original mss. exceeded 700 pages.

Yeah, you read right. I read through some of those pages yesterday while trying to make sense out of the several inches of this voluminous paper trail. I realize now that I had more than two books here--probably three or four. The above paragraph came from Chapter 14. It's not a bad paragraph. It might still work for some opening chapter with a little work.

I realized from my overview of my characters, too, that I had way too many of them, and they each had their own story going on. Ah, the mistakes of a novice writier. I had so many things to still learn about writing. 

I wrote this in 3rd person, getting into nearly all of their heads. I don't know how I kept them all straight. And several of them, as I said, had some sort of story going on, and I delved into each one. Like I said I could potentially have several short stories, novellas and novels from this mass of paper.

Of course this was my very first vampire novel. It still will be my first, as bad as it was. But as I sat reading through some of it, and going "nah . . . nah . . ." and putting chapters aside because they were not interesting enough for me, I began seeing something in my main character Jan. A police detective, he was in the middle of a missing person's case that had him baffled. And of course a vampire was at the very center of it. This is one of those "closed" worlds in which the main characters don't know/believe that vampires exist. It's basically police procedural.

When I read the first lines of the first chapter (once I located it), I remember thinking--at the time--it was pretty good. It might be, but I'm so over it I don't even want to read it all the way through. However, I did find a short story within its pages and wrote it out and it might be presented here at a later date.

The Murder Mystery Evolves
So, when I sat on my couch with all these chapters on chairs, tables and floor, I was seeing a main character with merit emerge.

Out of all this work I did--months that turned to years of work--where several stories meld, but can be separated now--I began to see the phoenix rising out of the ashes of all this paper mess in my office, being reborn into something new.

No. Not a vampire book. Not urban fantasy, or even a paranormal romance, but a mystery with a paranormal twist. Jan Vladislav became Jansen Cross, ex-detective whose wife was murdered while he was suffering from a severe migraine and was a "person of interest" , but never charged. The murder is still unsolved. A cold case--for now. And now his wife is a poltergeist who has tantrums, once in a while by throwing clothes and shoes out of her daughter's closet on bad days. Although Jan is an ex-cop, and because of his expertise in certain areas of police work, he is called as a consultant by police. . . and his wife (who he never sees, nor talks to) literally drops little clues for him to follow.

That's pretty much what I have for now. Work must continue, but I'll be seeing you all on the blogsphere! Have a great rest of the weekend, and thanks for stopping by.


  1. I've got an old m/s I'm in exactly the same position as you with. It's long (though not quite as long as yours) and I switch POV's during the whole thing. The story has potential but the thought of diving back into into it makes me want to bang my head on the desk!

  2. I know the feeling.

    What do you feel when you take up any chapter and read just the opening paragraph? Does it make you itch to rewrite? Does it sound more like something that could be made into a short story?

    See what happnes. Or, maybe you need more time for it to be "forgotten", like years?

  3. Oh, I like how your mystery with a paranomal twist sounds. I love investigative mysteries and ghost stories (even more than vampire stories). Is the ex-detective going to find out who really killed his wife? Was it his alter ego? Is she going to help give him clues? OMG, can't wait to find out.

  4. Hi, Fcj!

    This is still in the thought process, actually. I don't know exactly even what this mystery will be about. I remember that Monk, on the show found the killer of his wife in a hospital bed dying of emphazima. He could have simply killed him--can't remember how--but he didn't. He left him there to suffer to the end.

    But YES! Definitely, his wife will give him clues. I'm actually signed up for the NaNoWriMo, and think this may be the story I will work on.
    Thanks for comment!


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