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Writer's Room => Picture Books (PB) => Topic started by: jojocookie on June 06, 2014, 03:29 AM

Title: PB MS pile
Post by: jojocookie on June 06, 2014, 03:29 AM
What do you do with your MS's that have been fully critiqued but haven't found a home because they do not meet current market needs? I have so many of them and I can't stand clutter.

Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: KatherineR on June 06, 2014, 04:23 AM
They live on my hard drive so I don't see paper clutter.
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: Kell on June 06, 2014, 05:05 AM
Hold onto them! You never know when the market will change, a specific editorial need will arise, or you'll see a solution that turns a favorite manuscript from just cute to irresistible. We seem to hear on the boards a few times a year when a writer sells a ten year old story at last.

Or they may just stay as drafts -- a history of your progression as a writer. Or you could collect them, or self publishing, or you could sell another book that creates demand for a couple of your older stories.

It is frustrating. I'm also getting quite an inventory of picture book manuscripts...
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: Mrs. Jones on June 06, 2014, 06:39 AM
Labeled manuscript boxes stacked in my office closet. I used to use large shoe boxes, but then I ordered sturdy ms boxes online. They have a slot where I can put my own label, so if I change what's in the box, I just change the label. I also found some great ones at TJ Maxx, label holders and all! Also, on the first page of every ms I handwrite the name of the computer file and where I can find it (on a disc, or my computer, or whatever), because I generally have so many electronic versions, it's tough to figure out which one is "submission ready," without opening all of them. I'm getting better about that, but it's still easier to know exactly which computer file is married to which hard copy.

Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: lkstanek on June 06, 2014, 07:36 AM
Thanks for sharing your great organization tips, Mrs. Jones! I keep hard copies of PB mss in a file cabinet, but I love the idea of writing the  submission ready e-file name on the folder itself! Like you, I end up with many versions before calling it done.
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: jojocookie on June 06, 2014, 11:30 AM
Thank you everyone. I loved all the ideas.  :thanks2
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: Franzilla on June 06, 2014, 12:17 PM
I keep mine in a folder on my computer and then revisit them every six months or so, see if one tugs at my heart strings, and if so, I go at it like it means nothing to me. I cut all those 'special' parts that weren't doing it any favours, I ask the hard questions (is the character strong? can people identify with him/her? is there a clear story arc? is this a story someone else could have written? where's the wow factor? do I really think this story is worth thousands and thousands of dollars and months of other people's (illustrator/editor/designers etc) work?)  and then I revise. Sometimes it's still rubbish, so I leave it there. Other times it works. A reworked MS of mine was what helped me get my agent.

So it's definitely worth keeping them!
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: jojocookie on June 07, 2014, 03:57 AM
Thank you Franzilla.

One reworked MS of yours helped land you an agent! That's encouraging!
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: Jean Reidy on June 07, 2014, 08:23 AM
All great suggestions. Here's another. I've cannibalized ideas from unsold manuscripts and worked them into new ideas that have sold. So as you read through the "oldies" see if you can pull out the great parts - the parts that your critters/agents/editors loved - and run with those. See if they develop into something new.
Title: Re: PB MS pile
Post by: Robertvs on June 21, 2014, 01:49 AM
Personally, I recycle and reapply my manuscript ideas.

The current story I'm writing is really an adaptation of previous drafts which wouldn't have done well because they were too long (and also in difficult genre).

Rather than try to do something new, I simplified my plot and refocused by ideas to get the current manuscript I'm working on. The parts I didn't use I'm mentally saving them because they are easy enough to remember and reapply later.

The only reason I've save anything is so I can use the best parts for something else.