Transforming My “Farm Truck” Manuscript Into a “Ferrari” Novel


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IWSG Co-hosts April 2015

Suzanne Furness
Tonja Drecker
Toi Thomas
Rachna Chhabria
Fundy Blue
Donna Hole

Ferrari Photo Courtesy of:

Transforming a Farm Truck Into a Ferrari

AKA: Turning a manuscript into a best-selling novel

Have you ever ridden in an old, beat up, rusting farm truck? You might have noticed the sweet aroma of hay bails and silage mixed in with dozens of other less pleasant odors. As you climbed into the passenger seat, you might have had to push aside a mustard stained coat, heavy duty gloves, baby soother, and a few  red Tonka toys that resemble farm machinery in minute detail. The floor board served as a disposal unit for straw, animal hair, and anything no longer useful or desired. As you strapped yourself in, perhaps you gasped at the damaged windshield with jagged cracks radiating from what appeared to be bullet holes.

You smiled pleasantly to the hunk of a man griping the steering wheel. His face spoke of a man who labored in the wind and sun’s heat. He offered his hand in greeting. It felt calloused. There was no mistaking the man’s strength and no-nonsense grip.

“Charlie’s the name, Miss,” he announced. In a glance you felt he had sized you up as a city slicker. “You ready?” he asked with a mischievous grin. “No turning back. Got no time for sissies.” His voice lacked the smooth tenor of a man who favors cappuccino and Zalando shoes. Even so, you noted an unmistakable charm in his blue eyes. You’re intrigued.

When he started up his relic of a vehicle, you sensed the power under the battered hood. Those pistons would take you anywhere. As he pushed on the clutch, the gears groaned in protest. The wheels spun, sending grit and gravel spraying in a wake of clay baked trails. You had a sense of where you were heading though the fence line disappeared periodically. Dodging potholes and ruts, you bounced and grabbed something to keep you from landing on his lap. A rush of hot wind racing through the open windows carried the scent of musky ditch water. You pointed out the yellow flowers.

“Marsh Marigolds,” he said like he knew every inch of the land that gave him his life, and nurtured his soul.

I know what you were thinking. Yep. You wondered what he’d look like cleaned up. Pressed white shirt, tailored suit, and expensive aftershave. Uh huh. Maybe anti-up the charm a notch, polish his manners a smidgen? But you wanted to preserve a bit of the beast in the man. You wanted a Ferrari. But, God help you, there was so much of the original that made your heart fall in love.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhen rewriting your manuscript, you need to have an eye out for what’s out of date, useless, or groaning in protest. Polishing requires injecting a fresh approach to the same old story line. And yet, readers may want to feel ‘at home’ with what is familiar. They need to be able to relate to the characters. Yes, they want the novel to read like a Ferrari, fast and exciting. The glitz and glamour is nice, but the reader needs the meat and potato dinner that sustains them long after the last word is read.

I find it challenging to decide on what to keep, know what is just garbage, or what is window dressing that needs an update. The trick is to weed out what is overdone, repeated, or serves no purpose to character development or the climax of the scene or story.

You want the Ferrari, but you need to also remember what made you fall in love with the farm truck.

You’ll enjoy meeting many more authors sharing their stories by clicking on the links below. Be sure to also click on the share links below. Very much appreciated. Feather

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8 thoughts on “Transforming My “Farm Truck” Manuscript Into a “Ferrari” Novel

  1. It’s true. This is why I don’t edit before I’ve finished drafting. Want to meet the guy in the pick-up first. Get to know him. See what I like and don’t…


  2. I agree with you that while rewriting an old manuscript we need to toss lots of stuff that is useless and inject a fresh life into certain scenes and certain characters. It takes a lot to convert a farm truck manuscript into a Ferrari novel 🙂

    Rachna Chhabria
    Co-host IWSG
    Rachna’s Scriptorium


  3. Be it a farm truck or a Ferrari, it’s good to remember why you like one and love the other. Perhaps, it would be good to work on both, and allow the process of plotting, writing, etc. to produce two different stories that readers will enjoy.


  4. jenlanebooks

    What a cool metaphor for editing and marketing, Feather. Sometimes the hip, modern Ferrari sells, but what most of us want are tried and true farm truck themes of love, good vs evil, improving ourselves, etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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