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#3 Manuscript Update: Finding My Rhythm

A white mug of coffee bathed in sunlight.

I sip a warm latte, enjoying the sunshine and birdsongs that hint of a coming spring. It’s peaceful and quiet, though the anticipation builds within. Like a horse at the gate before the pistol pings, I’m ready. I close my eyes and I feel it. Bare feet on sunned concrete. Aching fingers that tug stubborn weeds. The lemon scent caught in the breeze from freshly cleaned windows. Mmmm. Images as lovely as this morning before me, with my latte and sunshine and birdsongs.

It’s a perfect morning for writing! I’m excited to put fingers to keys and type away at some ideas I’ve had for my medieval fantasy novel. But first, I’m reviewing my progress over the month of January.

As of right now I have 2,455 words typed into my Scrivener document—a number I feel great about when I acknowledge that most of my work is still in my head! I drift to sleep each night and stitch image to image, fabricating a plot with room for twists and turns. I’m creating a world of my own and allow characters to come to me, rather than sitting down to carve them out myself. I try to stay curious and unattached to all angles of this process so that my characters, locations, and events can come to me via inspiration, rather than forced creation.

I’m also reading vigorously and saving words I don’t understand to expand my Old English and medieval vocabulary. Currently, I’m about 56% of the way through Game of Thrones, and have it highlighted like an anatomy textbook before an exam. Additionally, I’m trying to research more than I write at this point. My story will certainly have fantastical features, but will loosely pull influence from medieval Europe. As such, I want to immerse myself in the past throughout the entire process of writing my book, for the purpose of improving my language and sharpening my understanding of castles, classes, occupations, holdfasts, weaponry, food, etc.

I originally wrote my very first scene in first person, but as my story developed I quickly realized I wanted to tap into the minds of several of my main characters. So, I settled on a third person limited point of view, written from several characters’ viewpoints. This was tricky at first; I write poetry in first person, and have always enjoyed the intimacy of a first person viewpoint. But…oh man! Once I was in the groove and completed a few scenes, it felt like the whole world opened before me. Telling the same story from multiple viewpoints is helping me liven the plot’s cadence, while adding each character’s unique flavor. I may write other stories in first person, but it’s finally clear to me that this story shines with a third person limited point of view.

And since we’re both here, I may as well ask—do you have a preference? Do you prefer to read or write in one viewpoint more than another? Also, I was hoping to share excerpts from my manuscript, but I’ve read mixed warnings about publishing bits of your novel before securing a publisher. Anyone have some insight on this? Will publishers reject you for sharing excerpts on your own blog? I’ll look into this more and share what I learn!

Anyways, here’s to another month of softly navigating our goals. To writing and creating. Blogging, reading, and whatever else it is that brings you joy. Here’s your reminder to rest when you need it, and to connect with those who will bring you up. I’m a week late, but am wishing you a wonderful February!

My soft goal for February: Get my manuscript word count to 5,000 words. (eek!)

Photos: My image.


  • Nicole Smith
    February 8, 2023 at 9:19 pm

    I love your touch base post. Congrats on all the writing you’ve done so far. Great job doing your research. I am softly navigating goals as well.

    • Samantha Burgett
      February 10, 2023 at 11:16 am

      Thank you Nicole! And good luck to you as well with your soft goals! 🤍

  • Michele Lee
    February 8, 2023 at 10:51 pm

    Great intro! I enjoyed reading about your progress and process. Bravo, Samantha. I have chosen to not share any excerpts from my manuscript. I am not aware of industry standards with this, but I want to avoid any issues. 🙂 Best wishes on your research and your writing!

    • Samantha Burgett
      February 11, 2023 at 8:11 pm

      Thanks Michele! And thank you so much for the advice! That seems to be the general consensus I’m seeing too (to not share excerpts, just in case). I suppose it will have to be a surprise! Thank you sooo much, and sending you my best wishes as well with your publishing journey! ☺️

      • Michele Lee
        February 11, 2023 at 10:23 pm

        It is my absolute pleasure and privilege. Reach out anytime and if I learn anything of value, I will share! When you get to the editor’s stage, let me know; I can give you some resources.

      • Samantha Burgett
        February 11, 2023 at 10:44 pm

        You are so, so sweet and kind! I appreciate it so much and will be sure too! ☺️ Thank you! 🤍

  • Tom
    February 28, 2023 at 11:09 am

    Getting in the right headspace is so important before setting pen to paper. 🙂 Glad you’ve found that ideal writing environment that helps power towards your goals – hope all the research pays off for your first draft! <3
    I've haven't tried the 'secure a publisher' route yet (self-publishing so far), but I've found beta reader feedback very useful when releasing "Part 1" excerpts of my draft novel & trimming the fat to improve its flow.

    • Samantha Burgett
      March 1, 2023 at 4:09 pm

      Thank you for the kind words of advice and encouragement! I think beta readers will be incredibly helpful, so I’m glad to hear that’s been a useful route in your experience. Best wishes in your writing journey as well!

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