Wednesday, June 5, 2013

If Your Manuscript Could Talk

Writer: Okay, manuscript, here we go. (poises fingers over keyboard)

Manuscript: Muahahaha.

Writer: Excuse me, but did you just ‘muahahaha’?

Manuscript: Muahahaha.

Writer: Why would you do that? I’m writing.

Manuscript: No, you’re not. You’re listening to me laugh and wondering if I’m going to do it again.

Writer: Fine then. I’m about to write.

Manuscript: Define ‘about’.

Writer: What do you mean by that?

Manuscript: You know what I mean by that. You call yourself a writer but you spend all your time reading blogs about writing or reading interviews with writers or looking at funny cat pictures. What are lol cats, by the way? Your browser history is full of them.

Writer: Shhhh.

Manuscript: You haven’t answered my question.

Writer: But writing is hard. No one told me that. I thought I’d sit and the words would flow and before I knew it, I’d have a finished book.

Manuscript: Writing is work. That’s not just a saying; it’s the truth. Cold? Yes. But honest.

Writer: But where’s the romance? Where’s the fun? Where’s the glamour?

Manuscript: There’s a reason for the drinking writer stereotype.

Writer: You’re scary. You’re blank and your curser blinks in an accusing way.

Manuscript: I am what I am.

Writer: (sigh)

Manuscript: You want me to change?

Writer: Yes, please.

Manuscript: Then write. Word by word, sentence by sentence. Some will be good, some will be bad, but the words will be there. My curser will still blink, but I promise you’ll hardly notice it if you’re busy typing.

Writer: There’s nothing else for it, is there?

Manuscript: Not if you ever want me to be full of words, there isn’t. Oh, and a heads-up. You’ll never think I’m finished.

Writer: Why?

Manuscript: Because I’ll never be perfect. Yet another reason for the drinking writer stereotype.

Writer: That’s a hard lesson to learn.

Manuscript: No one said this was easy. Oh, and one more thing…

Writer: Yes?

Manuscript: Muahahaha.

Elspeth Antonelli is an author and playwright. Her murder mystery games A Fatal Fairy Tale and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the internet. All thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by She has also contributed articles to the European writers' magazine Elias. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Antonelli, Author.


  1. Getting the words on the page is the hardest part. That's why I do all kinds of things to make first drafts fun, like typing it into

    Or on Scrivener, I make the page full screen and black with bright turquoise words and a forest background. Hoping a really pretty screen will make the tedium less tedious.

  2. Deborah Turner HarrisJune 5, 2013 at 2:15 AM

    What a great post! (I love the phonetic rendering of an evil laugh!) This entertaining little drama aptly illustrates one of the basic challenges of the writing experience (which I had to confront just to write this comment). Cheers!

  3. How interesting Kayci. I would never think to add something like that, but then I am a real purist when it comes to writing. I can't work with music playing either. Anything other than what I am working on is always such a distraction for me, but I know lots of writers who don't have that issue.

    Elspeth, I swear you tapped into my latest work. I have heard the laughter.

  4. I'm going to show this post to my wife ... she might not think I'm so weird.

  5. If my manuscript spoke, it would break up with me for neglect. Muahahahaha.

  6. Kayci; I've never heard of and now I'm curious! I go into 'composition mode' on Scrivener if I'm serious about getting the bleeping words on the page. It works for me.

    Deborah; Thanks!

    Maryann; If I have music on, then it has to be classical. But often, silence rules.

    Christopher; Good luck!

    Diana; Muahahahaha. *creak* What was that? Ha. Now you have to open your manuscript to find out. Muahahahaha.

  7. Elspeth - This is wonderful! And a good reminder that the story doesn't get written by itself. That's the hardest part of writing, really - just...writing.

  8. Muahahaha. That's me laughing. I rarely talk to my manuscript, but I do often carry on conversations with my characters.

  9. Margot; A self-writing story...hmmmm. But yes, it is the harsh reality, isn't it?

    Helen; I talk to my characters, too. Their usual response is not one I can repeat in a family-friendly blog. Muahahaha.

  10. May I share the link in some LinkedIn writing groups? I think other writers would really enjoy the humor and it would make for some good conversation.


  11. Susan; It's fine with me. Which groups? I'm also linked in with LinkedIn.

  12. Well... umm... I'm in like 45 writing groups! So I'd sprinkle it around here and there.

    I hate it when people post the same thing in 15 groups all on the same day and everywhere you go - poof! - there it is again. :) I'm sure you'll run into it. Ha ha.

    Thanks for the permission, and I hope it encourages people to follow your blog. You're on my "Writers' Resources" link on my webpage because you write such great information!

  13. Susan; I agree with you about this blog - I'm honoured play the clown for this talented and knowledgeable ensemble.

  14. LOL! Loved your post, Elspeth. We writers can all identify with this!

  15. Love this, Elspeth! I'm sure glad my manuscript(s) can't talk. Sass isn't one of my favorite things (unless, of course, it's coming from one of my characters), and I'm sure they'd all be full of it -- as well as stern scoldings for the years they've waited and waited and waited for completion and validation. Yes, I'm definitely glad!

  16. Elspeth I love the *creak* in your response to Diana! Perfect. Just how the curious writing mind works!

  17. Great blog, Elspeth. Actually I HAVE spoken to my manuscript....let me be specific. I have cursed to my manuscript, to no avail. I wish she would laugh at me. At least I'd know she was alive. All I get is cold silence, which is sometimes discouraging...but, only temporarily.

  18. Cute post. I like cat pictures too. And see, I'm here instead of writing. Muahahaha. :)


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