Friday, September 2, 2011

Thinking about Manuscript Revisions and Other Friday Linkage

This week at work has been a tough one, in a quarter of tough weeks--but this week may win the prize.  I want next quarter to be one where all the weeks are competing to win the prize for lightheartedness and the granting of deepest wishes.

How I wish I had spent the month of August writing poetry postcards, the way Kathleen did.  Next year!  How I wish I was thinking about readings, like Jeannine is.  This week-end and this month!  I love the view of Kelli's writing shed, and this week-end, I'll go to the writing shed in my mind.  Write now, she commands, and I will.

It's Autumn, and time to think about larger manuscripts again.  Are you working on a manuscript?  Here's a great article on assembling them (thanks to January for this post which got me to the article).

I return to the question which haunts me periodically.  I have a manuscript with poems that have a nuclear theme and explorations of the variety of ways that technology fails us.  Each year, I look back over the new poems that I've written on similar themes, and I wonder about reworking the manuscript.  Add the new poems?  If so, which to take out?

Or is it better to start assembling a second manuscript with similar themes, even though I haven't found a publisher for the first one?

I look at the publishing world, and the fact that I'm 46 years old, and my brutally realistic side says, "You're likely to only have one shot at publishing any given manuscript with that theme--or any other theme.  Take the lesser work out and add the newer."

But once, the lesser poems were the strong poems that I added to the manuscript in past revisions. 

Last year, I wanted to enter the manuscript into some contests that required a shorter manuscript than the one that had approximately 75 poems that was my standard.  I cut rather radically.  So my other question is about optimum length.  I think I like the shorter manuscript.

It occurs to me that I could do a chapbook series on the theme.

Now my head hurts.  I wish I could say that I would be thinking about these things during today's round of meetings, but I will not.  The schedule of winter classes is due at the end of today, and I'm behind.  Insert heavy sigh here.

But after I get that done, I'm ready for my long Labor Day week-end.  Hurrah for 3 day week-ends!


Kathleen said...

I have fallen in love with the chapbook--whether reading or writing. I think it's related to the "one sitting" thing, as with the short story, re:reading.

Yes, the August postcard project was fun. Creative, communicative, both breezy and disciplined, and just fun!

Hannah Stephenson said...

Issues with the manuscript...I totally understand. The task of reworking can seem daunting.

Whatever you choose, just send some version of it out! :)

Jeannine said...

I believe you can circulate two manuscripts at a time. I've done it myself. Mayapple, by the way, is a good publisher for science-y manuscripts by women...