Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Is Your Manuscript a Monster?

Writers! Did you know that each of your beloved manuscripts has the capability of evolving into monsters? It’s true. Here’s a list to help you identify which monster(s) are lurking near you right now. Be still. Can you hear their breathing?

10. The Vampire. This is the manuscript which refuses to die. It has merit - one might even say it has teeth. It prefers to be written at night. Don’t eat steak while you’re working on this manuscript.

 9. The Good Witch. This manuscript allows you to ‘go home’. It deals with familiar subject matter and may contain recipes for cookies. However, it does tend to talk in riddles and can send you down roads leading to lions, tigers, and bears.

 8. The Bad Witch. This manuscript is often tied with the Good Witch manuscript. It could be the sequel or the same plot, but told from the POV of a different character. This manuscript can fly (which is good) but it also likes to be in control. Don’t drink water while you’re working on this one.

 7. The Werewolf. This is the manuscript that wakes you up in the middle of the night. Working on it may make you howl. It has a tendency to be hairy.

 6. The Zombie. Yet another manuscript which refuses to die. This one, however is all-consuming. You may feel as if it’s trying to eat your brain. Approach with caution. A little salty dialogue may control it.

 5. The Mummy. (Version One) The Egyptian mummy. This manuscript has been edited so many times that it’s held together by the ‘cut and past’ function. There are treasures in this manuscript, but it will involve digging.

 4. The Mummy (Version Two) The British mummy. This is a manuscript which insists that it knows best whilst also insisting that you keep a stiff upper lip and just keep writing. Don’t complain while working on this manuscript. Working on this manuscript may lead to you building a writing empire. This manuscript develops faster if you drink tea and listen to Elgar.

 3. Frankenstein’s Monster. This is the manuscript which is the result of you cobbling together what you were sure were the best bits of many different manuscripts. You thought it would work, but it seems somewhat out of control. All it wants is some love, but it’s difficult communicating. Don’t work on it near a fire.

 2. The Ghost. This is the manuscript that haunts you. The first inklings of the plot may have appeared to you many years ago, but you’ve never been able to get a full picture. You think you see it out of the corner of your eye, but when you look, it’s gone. Wear a sweater when tackling this manuscript.

 1. The Self-Doubt Goblin. Not a manuscript, but the scariest of all the writing monsters. It hisses all your fears into your ear and knows exactly what to say to force your hands either off the keyboard or to put your pen in a drawer. The best defense against this goblin is the support of other writers (who are equally inflicted, trust me). Chocolate also quiets the hissing.

Elspeth Futcher is an author and playwright. Thirteen of her murder mystery games and two audience-interactive plays are published by Her A Fatal Fairy Tale, Deadly Ever After and Curiouser and Curiouser are among the top-selling mystery games on the Internet.  Elspeth's newest game, The Great British Bump Off is now available from her UK publisher, Red Herring Games, as is her Once Upon a Murder. Elspeth's 'writing sheep' are a continuing feature in the European writers' magazine Elias and also appear on this blog from time to time. Connect with her on Twitter at @elspethwrites or on Facebook at Elspeth Futcher, Author.


  1. Hilarious and true! Thanks for this.

  2. Good list Elspeth ... you've got me cringing in fear of turning on my computer ... what horrors might be lurking in there? Guess I better just take a nice safe nap.

  3. Great stuff, Elspeth. My goblin is particularly strong of late. Nasty little bugger. LOL

    1. It's the worst one, isn't it? Here's hoping he scampers off soon.

  4. Replies
    1. Shiver indeed. Oh look - pirates! Wait. That's another blog post.


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