Posted by: jeannineatkins | October 12, 2010


Writing reminds me that most of life doesn’t have beginnings and ends, but circles. Sending off a manuscript is a thrill (riddled with terror), but about five minutes after I hit the lovely send button, I was humming, checking out Facebook, wiping crumbs off the counter, taking a breath, then opening up the manuscript I’d set aside when I’d plunged into the one I just “finished” after a long summer (I’m trying to ignore the wide edges of spring and fall) of a major revision. Through September I could feel myself getting closer to what I like to call the end, peering down hard at the paper. My manuscript was riddled with signs I’d posted to myself: Fix! Make stronger! besides all the cross-outs, a hallmark of every go through. I kind of welcomed those signs marking “Bad!” like a child approaching a puddle. Here’s where I could jump and play. I liked reading lines I thought were good, but the places that called for repair let me be careless and carefree for a bit again, less of a person with a blue pencil, on the alert for errors.

It’s good to look up and find the trees showing off colors, pumpkins on porch steps, and colorful candy on store shelves. Yesterday I bought some gummy bats sprinkled with sugar. For a friend, ahem. And I’m glad to have a manuscript to work out where there are lots of vague and messy places, lots of spots where I can play. So much that’s off that I haven’t yet written notes to myself re here’s a place to fix. Because that’s true of every phrase. Let the rollicking begin. And maybe a bit of candy corn with my tea.



  1. I hit send yesterday and am ready to play, too. 🙂

  2. It’s good to come back to the fun parts. I’m letting myself read about and think about plot again, as I head toward the end of Draft 1 and start musing about Draft 2. I love the moment where someone talks about a plot twist/structure element, and my brain says, “OH! My hero needs to do THIS here!”
    Happy playing to you–and enjoy the candy, too. 🙂

  3. Candy corn and rollicking? I’m coming to join you!

  4. Congrats on sending that off.
    I’m a little jealous of you right now since I’ve never seen a New England fall!
    Hard to believe, huh?

  5. I’m glad to be sharing a timetable, Jo! Good luck to us both!

  6. In and out, up and down, theme, plot, character, setting, twists and turns. It’s good to love it all in pieces. Glad you’re enjoying the moment. Wish I could toss you a Reese bar, which have not yet been allowed in the house.

  7. Joyce, we in New England do like it when you’re jealous of our falls, as we know you’re smug Nov. through April when we’re shoveling and chipping some icky stuff. But really you should visit. October or May.

  8. Happy to see you, Lorraine. Hope I can toss you some candy corn soon, and that you’re seeing enough light to work on those stubborn chapters. We’re waiting to read this book!

  9. Actually we are a little bit jealous of the snows you get. At least the first one or two. After that we do feel quite satisfied with the occasional 70 degree day in January!
    Our winters are quite sporadic!

  10. A hectic week, so I missed this — but I *love* the idea of “Fix this!” marks being the signs to the playground. I’m pulling on my flowered wellies and going off to stomp in a few puddles…

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