Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Value of your Desk Drawer

My desk drawer can be a pretty scary place.

Especially my virtual one that holds all my "put to the side" manuscripts that either didn't make the cut or were snippets of an idea that I didn't have time to work on right then.

It also contains books that I've started but then got "stuck" on.

So when I turned in my latest manuscript to my agent for her to work her selling magic... (What? It IS magic right???) my desk drawer is where I turned to when I was contemplating what to work on next.

I picked out the last manuscript I'd worked on almost two years ago now.

It had about 22,000 words on it, but when I put it aside, I was super unsure about where I was headed with it. I had worked on that last chapter for WAY too long, and had gladly stuffed it in the drawer when edits came calling for my debut novel, Sandwich, With a Side of Romance.

At Starbucks one brisk afternoon, I began to read through, editing a little bit as I went. I smiled. I laughed some. I rolled my eyes some.

But overall, I liked what I had. The farther I got, the more I wondered how in the world I could have gotten stuck. Even *I* was excited to see how the story would play out.

Only... I got to chapter 13.

And the whole wonderful story took a steep nose-dive into the ground.

Crashed and burned.

When I ended at chapter 15, where I'd ended up shoving the whole thing in a file on my desktop to collect desk, I could clearly see my problem.

My last three chapters were CRAP. Forgive my blunt language, but it's the truth.

So, I backed up. I deleted a whole chapter, and reworked two more.

And I smiled. I liked my story again.

I'm now excited to write more and see where it goes.

Of course, verdict is still out. I've sent the first three chapters to my agent to get her opinion and see if she feels it is as brilliant as I thought it was. She totally might give it two thumbs down.

And that'd be fine.

But my point is...

There is value in setting aside a stalled story. There is value in taking a break and separating yourself from a story. Whether it is between writing "The End" and starting to edit, or if you've encountered the dreaded writer's block and after months of trying, can't seem to shake it. A fresh brain will help pinpoint problems much faster than one that has been spending too much time having hairs pulled from its outer covering.

Oh, and those forgotten novels you doubt will ever see the light of day?

Might be worth pulling them out once in a while... just for kicks:-)

Discussion: Do you have any discarded or unfinished manuscripts in your desk drawer?


And FYI! My debut novel is on SALE!!

Well, the ebook version on is anyway!

From now until December 22nd, you can get Sandwich, with a Side of Romance for only $3.99 on your Kindle! 

Of course, it's still available in paperback at all the normal places online, and at most Christian bookstores near you! :-) They make GREAT Christmas presents *wink* *wink*


Sherrinda said...

Oh yes...the drawer. My drawer is not very full, but I suspect in the coming years it will grow and overflow. :)

And congrats on your book making it into the TOP 100 Kindle books! You are rocking it, girl!

Jill Weatherholt said...

I have a couple stashed, but thanks to your words of wisdom, I might be taking another look at them in the new year. I've been stubborn when it comes to transitioning from paper books to an e-reader, but that may change next year. I look forward to reading your debut novel ~ cute title!

Pepper said...

Do I???
Great googley-moogley do I!

Plenty that may or may not see the light of day again. Plenty of 'snippets' of ideas that I've stashed away for another time and place.

And other that are waiting...patiently waiting to see the light of day again, once I can find the time to attack them.


Some day.

Fun post, Krista - and GREAT reminder of the value in those "desk drawers"

Krista Phillips said...

Sherrinda... thank you! And yes, your drawer will fill up quickly too! (fyi... sometimes you need actually put things IN It to have it fill up. LOL)

Krista Phillips said...

Jill, I am TOTALLY with you. I got a Kindle for Christmas last year, and while I LOVE it... I still buy most of my books in paper!

And even if you take a look at those in your drawer and they don't seem workable... looking at them sometimes help you pinpoint a problem you can avoid in a future book, too!

Krista Phillips said...

Pepper! I think you and Cindy are the QUEEN of the desk drawer piles!!!!

Your day is coming!!!

Lindsay Harrel said...

This post took a different direction than I thought it would, but I love it! :) I'm still fairly new to novel writing, so I have a few ideas but not lots of snippets or anything. I'm sure I'll get there eventually. Fun to hear about your experience!

Joanne Sher said...

I have a book that I'm giving one more chance before I put it in the drawer. It's different from most of the other stuff I enjoy writing, so finding a place for it could endanger the rest of my stuff - if that makes sense. (LOL or even if it doesn't!) And conventional wisdom says it wouldn't be a good debut.

Great post, by the way. THANKS.

Jeanne T said...

Krista, you're so funny. I JUST got home from a doc's appt and a little Christmas shopping, and wouldn't you know, your book is in the bag I brought home. :) I haven't decided if I'm keeping it or giving it yet. ;) Thanks for your thoughts today.

Krista Phillips said...

Lindsay, you totally have me curious about what direction you thought it would go. LOL. And yup, you just wait. that drawer will be filled up in no time!

Krista Phillips said...

Joanne, that totally makes sense. Having an "outside the box" book is an interesting challenge! SOMETIMES those need to stay in the desk drawer. But... othertimes... it might just be "the one."

One never knows!

Krista Phillips said...

Jeanne, awwwww!!! THAT made me smile today!!!! THANK YOU!

Beryl said...

Would any of you girls like to write a piece (story, essay, memoir, book review...) for The Writer's Drawer ( It's a way to get publicized and I also promote books, in exchange for a creative article/poem/story?