Confessions of a Writer: I Trunked My MS

by Brandi Ziegler

Manuscript: something submitted in haste and returned at leisure.

~ Oliver Herford

As I mentioned before, I trunked ELEMENTAL SACRIFICES: THE GATHERING. I didn’t expect that at all. But after the query letter count got over 100, and I only garnished two manuscript requests (that led nowhere) after multiple query letter and MS rewrites, I knew it was time.

So I wallowed for a while. I was pregnant and felt fat and ugly to begin with but now I also felt like a failed writer. I mean, I know plenty of amazing authors with trunked manuscripts, but I didn’t think that would happen to me. Poor, naïve me.

A new story idea had been brewing for months. Instead of writing it while I queried, I let it soak, jotting down a loose plotline and character profiles, but no chapters, no words. Last fall after my son was born, I finally started writing. It was tough going at first. Nothing was ever going to be as good as ESTG. But as I got to know my new characters, I looked forward to my coveted writing time after the baby went to sleep. I stayed up way past the time a new mama should and the words flowed effortlessly.

After a few months I had a ragged rough draft, but even at that stage I knew it was better than ESTG. Many writers have said your writing gets better the more books you produce. I didn’t want to believe I could do better because I wasn’t ready to move on from ESTG. After weeks of polishing my rough draft of THE DEAD ASSASSIN, I sent it to my CPs. And I got amazing feedback that made my story even better. Even better. I was in love. ESTG who?

This last year has taught me a thing or two:

  1. Not everything you write is sellable. It could be the market, agency/publisher tastes, or because it’s something you only wrote for you and you never planned to publish it in the first place.
  2. Keep writing. I should have been writing TDA long before I started. Always work on that next project. Get better at your craft.
  3. You can’t do it alone. The writing community will embrace you. There’s no need to avoid Twitter or Facebook, forums like AbsoluteWrite or AgentQuery, or the many blogs I can’t even begin to list created by writers for writers. I couldn’t have gotten through this last year, this last book, without my fellow writers.


Anywho, that’s my trunking confession. Do you have a trunking experience?