When You Open Your MS for the 1,000,000th Time and You LOATHE It

Thank you for indulging my forced vacation last week. I actually didn't mean to time it with Thanksgiving (I often forget about American holidays out here), but sometimes things just work out, don't they?

So. You sit down to write. You open the Word doc that you've opened a million times before, see the chapter heading or title page and . . . you hate it. You hate that chapter title, that opening paragraph, that scene that you've revised twenty billion times.

This happened to me a little while ago. I've been revising Post-Apoc Ninjas for like ever, and I was so frigging sick of seeing this screen every morning:

Single-spaced, 10-point font, baby. That's how I roll.

But hey, writing's hard, right? We just gotta deal with it and move on.

But this was affecting my mood (and my predilection toward distraction) every single day. It was making a hard thing harder. So with the help of some basic psychology, I fixed it. Now I see these instead:

Emo Billy, but lots cooler.
Alternate view: a map prettier than any I could ever draw.
I found pictures related to my story, pictures that got me excited about it, and pasted them all over the first page. Now I don't have to see any text until I'm ready (and with the Document Map, I don't have to see the opening text at all, if I don't want to).

So that's your tip for today: When you open your manuscript for the millionth time and you LOATHE it, drop some awesome pictures on the first page to remind you why you still love it.

What about you? When you hate your manuscript and don't want to see it ever again, what do you do about it?

12 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

I'll usually drink too much, write a (usually) really bad new scene (but occasionally a really awesome one) and then laugh at it the next morning (or fix it a little and keep it).

I NEVER read the first page when I open the document back up. Not while drafting, and not while revising (until, you know, I have to revise THAT PART).

And thanks for the linkage! I should update that post, because I don't use the stupid heading settings at all any more. I just right click for the paragraph settings, and use "outline level." So much easier because it does nothing to the formatting. I can't believe it took me so long to figure that out.

How was the visit from your best friend? Are he and Uncle Matt the same guy?

Matthew MacNish said...

Oh, and Himeji Castle for the win. It is Himeji, right?

maine character said...

I'm at the point where I've read it so many times that I'm beginning to change things just to read something new.

So yeah, off to find some cool pictures.

Steph Sessa said...

I just reopened a MS I put away because I was revising another one. I haven't looked at it for months and now I kinda hate it. It just needs so much work. I kinda did the same thing as you except I looked at my board on Pintrest if it. The pictures remind me what I want it to be and motivate me to keep going!

Deniz Bevan said...

Awesome tip. Usually when I get to this point I start playing with the font (hello, Tolkien font!), but now that I have Scrivener, using images and maps is much easier.

Jack said...

I shun my first pages. I write them and then don't allow myself to look at them until I go back to edit them later. Getting the first few lines right is the worse for me and if I had to see if every day I think I would burn the book.
I like the picture idea. I might have to try that when I get back to editing.
Usually when I hate my story I make myself keep going, and go for long, moody walks.

Iliadfan said...

I love this idea! Definitely something to try.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Great tip! And oh, my gosh-- GREAT first line! Great first paragraph! I think that'd do it for me. :)

Sarah Ahiers said...

that is a really good idea. I have a pinterest board for my current MS, but it never occured to me to throw some pics on the front page. I may have to do that with my querying MS because (sigh) i'm just tired of revising it over and over again

Michael Offutt, Speculative Fiction Author said...

I read the page you got posted here and I liked it a lot.

Maybe what you need to love your manuscript more is a little fan mail. Someone that says, "Hey Adam, I can't wait to know more. This is really awesome."

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I love this tip! And now you've reminded me that I need a map for my steampunk fantasy romance... using the mapmaker you pointed out before... *scampers off*

Victoria Dixon said...

Historically speaking, this is a great time to turn slasher and cut several thousand words that I'd been married to up until the point of loathing. LOL