Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Finishing the Labour of Love. Getting to the End of the Go-To-Manuscript.

Just some of the notepads filled with Go-To-Manuscript writing.

DO you have a ‘Go-to-Manuscript?’ That labour of love that takes forever, that you come back to in-between editing, or writing other projects? The one that’s a bit more of a challenge to write. The one that need that extra dedication and research to get right?

I have a ‘Go-To-Manuscript.’ A project I really believe in. A story that I’m passionate about, that has messages and themes which are really important. It’s a manuscript that I’ve been picking up in-between editing and writing my other works, so it’s been written in fits and starts. And it is a challenge. Both to get back into the voice after large expanse of time away from penning it, and in the sheer task of getting it right.

The concept came for my Go-To-Manuscript way back in 2013. I was working with an Indy-bookshop and was attending some author evens for World Book Day. In the same week I saw Paula Harrison talk about her Rescue Princess books, about princesses who secretly train to become ninjas to save animals form poachers, and I saw Charlie Higson, talk about his The Enemy series, set in London after a plague has killed all adults (turned them into zombies at least), leaving kids try to survive in the post-apocalyptic world. And it made me think…

If these two books had a baby, what would it be like? 

So I spent almost a year mulling over this question. And eventually in in March 2014, I typed by my initial thoughts on what the baby book would be like.

Shortly afterwards I entered a Pitch Mad with the concept and several commissioning editors requested I write the book.

So in June 2014 I started writing the book, however 2014 was a great year for me as I signed with an agent and got a contact, so I ended by putting the Go-To-Manuscript in a draw as I was editing two other projects. I would get it out and work on in when the other two projects were back with my agent and editor.

A cartoon my daughter did of me circa 2014

Sadly 2015 was a really bad year for me. My contract was stopped, (nothing to do with me I hasten to add), and my agent shut up shop and stopped agenting. So I started writing the GO-To-Manuscript again, until I began working with the Golden Egg Academy on my previously contracted book. So back in the draw my GO-To-Manuscript went.

During 2016 -2017 and 2018, my poor beloved Go-To-Manuscript was in and out that draw like a Jack-in-the-Box! Largely due to multiple edits on other projects and completing numerous other manuscripts. I did however spend a lot of time researching for my Go-To-Manuscript, reading lots of articles, and books, and going to locations. 

But in December 2019, I decided I was going to actually have a push and concentrate on my Go-To-Manuscript to finish it. Bizarrely as I worked on it, the more relevant it became, making it more in-tune with today’s world than when I began in it in 2014. 

It’s been a challenge, but my Go-To-Manuscript is finally finished. I am so so so pleased. It’s been the hardest book I’ve ever written, but certainly worth it, and loved every minute of research and toil. But now comes the editing, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t take quite so long!


  1. What a saga, Sally ... huge congratulations and well done! Your Go-To story's own story is only just beginning. It's the best sort of story!

    1. Hi Candy, Thank you i am SOOOOOO pleased to have gotten to the end!

  2. Sally!!!!! If this is what I think it is - I am so excited! But I never realised I had a cameo role in the original inspiration. No wonder I love the idea so much. :)))

    1. Hi Paula, yes, i can remember the exact moment when i first thought of it. You were definitely one of the main inspirations.