Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Name That Tune

"We've Only Just Begun"
It's the beginning of a new manuscript. Your head is bursting with ideas and you simply can't type fast enough. Anything is possible. You're filled with energy and purpose. And're smiling.

"I Will Always Love You"
You've discovered your characters and you love them all. They're all clean and shiny and even the bad ones have a special place in your heart.

"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me"
What happened to those cherished characters that but a few days ago had won your heart? Now they're quarreling and refusing to do what you're wanting them to do.

"Stuck in the Middle with You"
You're in the middle of your plot. Time isn't really standing still, it just feels like it. You're convinced your characters are dull and flat and your plot is tired. This is not a smiley time.

"The Long and Winding Road" 
Yes, you're still in the middle. Middles are long. Keep plodding (or plotting) along. The road may wind, but every step (or word) gets you closer to the end. Just pray you're not walking (or writing) in a circle. It happens.

"Oh, What a Beautiful Morning"
You've finished your first draft. You swear you can hear birdsong and see a rainbow dipping down into your yard. It's a good time. Take a well-earned breath and break.

"Please Release Me"
You thought once you'd reached the end it was over? HA! Now you've got to edit. Don't try to guess how many times you'll go through that first draft - it's not a happy number.

"It's the End of the World as We Know It"
Yes, you're still editing. You're convinced this project will never be finished.

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"
You've put your manuscript in front of another pair of eyes - or several pairs. The ensuing comments will help cement your story. Yes, it means more revisions, but the end is in sight.

"It's Over"
It's done. Really, really done. Dance a jig. You've climbed Mount Everest. Demand a parade. And're smiling again.

"Here We Go Again"
You know what this is, don't you?

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Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her twelve murder mystery games and two plays are available through She has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine "Elias". Her blog, "It's A Mystery," explores the writing process with a touch of humor. She is on Twitter as @elspethwrites.


  1. Bravo, Elspeth! I loved every song. A creative, fun post with great insights about the novel writing process.

  2. Thanks, Kathryn! I think each of us writes to our own soundtrack and it changes with every piece we write.

  3. Elspeth - Oh, I just loved this post!!! You've really captured what it's like to see a manuscript through :-). And what's interesting (or so I've found) is that even after you've gone through the process and oughta know what it's like, a similar thing happens with the second, and the third, etc... manuscript, too! Do we ever really learn? ;-)

  4. Love that!

    The day I started querying for agents I woke up with the song 'Everyone's a Winner' by Hot Chocolate. I hope it's a sign of things to come!

  5. Margot; Thank heavens for selective memories! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post.

    Darke Conteur; What a great omen! All my best wishes to you in your query process.

  6. What a fun way to describe the process!
    You're simply the best! *hugs*

  7. Christine; *blushing and scuffing shoe on floor* Thanks, Christine! I think you're fairly wonderful as well.

  8. You forgot I Can't Get No Satisfaction. Isn't that a stage in the process? ;)

  9. Dani; You've made an excellent point. Thanks for the addition.

  10. Great adaptation! Yes, I go through all those stages, but have never applied songs to them!

    Morgan Mandel

  11. Thanks! It was an interesting exercise to come up with song titles for some of the writing stages we go through as we write our way through our manuscripts.

  12. Elspeth, what a great post and so true. And I agree with Margot, it never changes no matter how many books we've written.

  13. Thanks, Maryann. At least, once you've travelled the road you have a better idea of where the potholes (or plotholes) might be on future journeys!

  14. Every picture tells a story. Every song reminds us of one. Thanks. The song titles you chose truely helped clarify the various tribulations of writing. Great.

  15. Delia; And thank *you* for your very kind words. You've made my day.

  16. This really made me smile! Thank you!

  17. Thanks for letting me know! I'm always glad to make people smile.

  18. Very cute post, Elspeth. Loved it.

  19. Hah, great post! I think 'Another One Bites The Dust' might be the song of the sad querier ;)

  20. This is great--a humorous way to look at our sad sagas of writing! Fun.


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