Trunked: manuscripts and hunting dogs

We trunked our hunting dog.  She’s no longer in circulation.  The South Dakota cornfields and Minnesota ditches will be devoid of her presence.  It saddens us greatly to relegate her to the title of pet, as my DH is an avid hunter and she was his first dog.

Her shoulders are shot, she injured her hind leg last year, she’s chubby and out of shape.  Not to mention just plain old.

Novels can be like that.  We write them with love and then sub them long past their prime.  It’s hard to let go sometimes.  They are our babies.

But there is hope.  We can buy new dogs.  Yes, they are untrained and ill-mannered.  They haven’t quite learned how to sit and they love to chew.  They will frustrate us with the energy it takes to keep them in line, yet they will also delight us with the exuberance of youth and their playful ways.

Our geriatric lab is now referred to as Grandma Kallie.  Our new dog is called many things–mostly under my breath as she’s trying to choke down a sock in record time.  Both are loved for what they offer our family.

Experience and hope.  Both are beautiful in their own right and each has a purpose.

Trunked novels are not failures.  They are testaments to our passion.  They represent the journey we took while honing our craft so we can write a new manuscript.  And that’s not to say Grandma Kallie will never take to the ditches again.  She might.  When the conditions are right.

Do you have a trunked novel, or does the thought of placing a beloved manuscript away terrify you?  And how do we know when it’s time to hang up the metaphorical leash?

Inquiring minds want to know.

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6 responses to “Trunked: manuscripts and hunting dogs

  1. I’m afraid I’m going to have to trunk my first ms for awhile and it breaks my heart. I can’t look at it any more. Agents make nice comments, it’s won contests, but I can’t get representation. I don’t know if it’s fear of the market or not, but I’m tired of trying. I just get furious looking at it and I don’t want to ruin it by continuing to try and fix something that might not be broken.

    • Victoria,

      Throw it in the trunk and hide the key. Let it sit for a bit–years if necessary–before pulling it back out. I think it’s too easy to ruin a great manuscript with too much tinkering. And when you look at it again, you may find the inspiration and spark that got you started writing it in the first place.

      Time does more than heal wounds, it lets us see things from a new perspective. And in writing, that can make all the difference in the world.

  2. No trunked novels here yet, just a couple of current WIPs not yet ready to make the rounds. But I have this funny feeling I’ll be the type of writer who hangs on to any trunked novels, thinking that one day, I’ll be able to massage them to their rightful greatness 🙂

  3. My first novel is trunked. It’s not fit to be seen by anyone but me. But it serves as a reminder of how much I’ve grown as a writer. Occasionally I get it out and chuckle about it.

    • I have one of those. Actually a few. Mostly picture books, as they were my first attempts at Juvenile lit. Who knew that they can be the hardest bleepin’ things to write? Let me write a novel any day!

      But you’re right, those first words are all about experience. They are our starting points and the compass on our writing journey. Magical despite the chuckles, no?

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