Monday, June 20, 2016

The First One Is For The Pan - Your First Manuscript

Last week I was working on dinner and we wanted something light, so I figured I would try crepes again. Now, I have to admit, I don't think I have ever been successful with these, so it would be a big challenge. I figured I would start with a little research. Not only did I pull out my infamous 1950 ish Betty Crocker cookbook, but I also called a mother of one of the kids on my daughter's dance team. Hey, Anne was born in France and has openly admitted crepes are easy.

She told me the recipe I had was great and gave me a couple tips regarding the batter. But then she threw in one more tip that I thought was priceless. She told me, her mom had told her something when she was first learning to cook. She told me the first one is not going to work, and as her mother told her, "The first one is for the pan and the rest of the crepes are for you."

When it comes to writing, the same is true for most of your first manuscripts. You worked like crazy to make the thing great. You love that story. You think it is the best thing since sliced bread. And yet, when you talk to most published authors, they will tell you that their first manuscript is still sitting in a file at home. It never made it to the published stage.

Oh, some have tried to safe the manuscript and bring it back to life, but no matter the amount of CPR they put into the darn story, it never came back to life.

But that is OK. Consider that one for the pan.

Now, here is the thing that made these authors successful. They knew that first one was for the pan, but, instead of giving up and making something else, they made that second crepe and wrote that second story. And then the third, and fourth, and fifth. They kept trying until they were successful.

Let me give you a couple of other crepe tips that my friend told me:

KEEP THE PAN FROM GETTING TOO HOT - For you writers, this simply means to not start out too fast and hot. If you start out too fast, or with too much tension, you have no where to build. Slow and steady always wins the race.

KEEP THE BATTER THIN TO SPREAD EVENLY - In other words, pace your story and know where and when to give us information. We don't need to have all of the information happening in those first pages.

AFTER EVERY CREPE, ADD A LITTLE OIL - That oil is there to make the crepe come off the pan nicely. The same goes for your words and voice. Make sure that, every now and then, you monitor how your voice is sounding and if the story still flows nicely off the page.

Look, making crepes is tough. But so is writing a novel. Those people you see making crepes with ease have had time to learn the craft. And those writers who seem to be amazing? It took them time too, and they too had to give up their first "crepe" to the "pan."

1 comment:

  1. It's been a long time since I've made crepes, but my husband used to love them, so you've inspired me to make a batch. Meanwhile, these are great tips. Bot my first and second novels ultimately went into the wastebasket.