I love the month of October. It means fall – changing leaves, bonfires, football games, Halloween, and Magna Cum Murder! I am happy we’re here, though I am wondering where the heck the month of September went.
I had a lot of hats to wear in September. There was the runner hat, as I prepared for and ran my first half-marathon. There was my historian hat as I gave a talk on Muncie in the Civil War at a local senior center. And there was my writer hat as I registered for the Midwest Writers Workshop manuscript makeover session on October 10th (and needed to decide on, or create, 10 pages of a manuscript for making over). It was a busy month, but I’m happy to say I survived it all! The half was quite the experience, especially since it rained for almost the entire time I was running. The talk would have been more fun with a larger audience (note to people running/volunteering at senior centers – don’t schedule a talk at the same time as euchre club if you want anyone to attend it), but it was fun to go back through all the research I’d done in preparation.
The worst part of the month was agonizing over the manuscript makeover. I had a great idea to work with when I registered for the session, but nothing on the page, and I didn’t like any of my other manuscripts. After weeks of staring at a blank screen and going um as all the words disappeared from my brain I finally managed to get a good start to the manuscript and thus the 10 pages needed for the makeover. Part of the torture was that I didn’t want to tell my husband anything about the story up front. He has always been the person I spit-balled ideas with, who helped me to figure out what I was struggling with, but that means he always knows what I’m trying to say before he starts to read. I wanted to know if I was setting a good hook with my start and if he already knew where the story was going, he couldn’t evaluate that. I had to keep quiet and fight on my own when all I wanted to do was talk to someone about my idea! But I persisted and, when he did read my pages, he reacted exactly the way I wanted! Success!
My October will be busy too, but more fun! In addition to attending the Manuscript Makeover session on October 10th, I plan on going to a couple Ball State home football games, I’ll be running a 5k, attending a Halloween party, and then – the best comes last – attending Magna Cum Murder October 30th-November 1st! Somewhere in all of that I’ll keep working on the current manuscript, hopefully armed with some helpful advice from the makeover session.