Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dark Mercy

This morning I printed up the beginning of an old manuscript. I plan to submit part of the manuscript to the Meacham Writers’ Workshop. (A wonderful free conference/workshop put on by the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga and others. Special thanks to those who realize that not all writers have the money to go to expensive conferences.)

In order to submit the manuscript, I know it will need to be edited. I have a little trepidation about reading it because it’s been a long time since I last worked on it, and I know that I’ve grown as a writer in those years. I expect to be shocked to find out how bad the manuscript might be, but that’s what edits are for.

And another part of me is looking forward to getting my hands dirty in the document. They say every writer has a manuscript in a drawer that is the story they had to write—a story written from the heart. This manuscript is my heart story. It’s not a story of me, but of characters that I fell in love with. Characters who demanded that their story be told and weren’t content until I’d taken apart their lives and put them back together. It’s a story about how their darkest experiences and sufferings were redeemed. Not that suffering is somehow good, that would be ridiculous. But that instead of remaining victims, they used their suffering to change who they are so that they conquered it. That’s why it’s my heart story.

I never made much of an effort to find an agent for the book because I don’t think it’s “marketable.” I think that we’d all like to believe that the best books get published and that agents and editors make their decisions based on aesthetics. But publishing is a business and like any business if it doesn’t make money, it fails. And I’m not going to rail against that. I understand it. And I believe it’s better that way. (What can I say, I’m a free market kind of person.) And just because the book isn’t publishable doesn’t mean that I’m not free to write it. I can write it for myself and enjoy it.

So I’m off to delve into the plot, passions, and symbols of Dark Mercy.


  1. I've been taken by this story idea since I first heard about it and now want to read it even more! I have one of those heart stories too, and hope one day to return to mine. Here's to heart stories getting the printer's ink they deserve! :-)

  2. Oh! I love coming back to a story that's been shelved. It's always nice to give it a fresh perspective. Good luck!

  3. Which is why the internet is so interesting, because people can "publish" their stories without the requirement of true business. (With some slight exceptions.)

  4. That sounds like a lot of fun!

    Good luck with the edits!

  5. Good luck with the editing. I like to look back at some of my journal entries and yes there is always something I would say differently now.

  6. If Meacham disappoints, try again next year. Meacham is half illusion...most students who attend are doing it only for extra credit in their classes. Their teachers have bribed, threatened and pushed them to the edge of sanity to get them to come out to the event. The people who run Meacham know this, so they sort the people who are for real into one workshop, and the students+newbies in the other. You have to attend at least two years to make it worth it, as it'll take that long for the powers-that-be to notice that you're serious and not plop you in with the bribed, threatened, and insane. Hopefully they'll see your worth but if not - don't give up!
    -Heather (nee McP) Carter