Alexandra Monir, Columnist

Starting a New Manuscript

by Alexandra Monir 

October 2014

Authorlink proudly welcomes this Randomhouse author as one of our regular columnists!

“Luckily, my past three books have taught me some helpful tools for drafting . . .”

Starting a new novel, whether you’re an established or aspiring author, always comes with the same dual sets of thoughts. We vascillate between “Look out world, this is the best thing I’ve ever written!” and “Ugh, maybe I’m not so great after all. Who is going to read this?” It’s completely natural to experience just as much frustration as elation in the writing process, and many of the best books you’ve ever read were uphill battles for their authors. The trick—no matter how hard the going gets—is to finish what you start. You just might be amazed by what unfolds when you see your story through.

I’m currently beginning the first draft of my fourth YA novel for Random House, titled The Girl in the Picture. The draft is due by December (January at the very latest!) so I only have a couple months. I will then have another 3-4 months for revisions, and then Girl in the Picture needs to be finalized and turned into Copyediting by April 2015! Luckily, my past three books have taught me some helpful tools for drafting and putting forth my best work under short timeframes. In this column, I’ll be sharing my writing process and tools with you, as I take this novel from beginning stages to completion.

First things first: how did Girl in the Picture end up as my next novel? There were a few factors.

#1. What is my “sweet spot” as a writer?
My career began with YA romance (my Timeless series) and I’m cognizant of the fact that love stories are what my readership wants—and also something I love as a reader!

#2. What am I dying to write?
At the same time, working on my most recent novel, Suspicion, showed me that mysteries are where my passion currently lies, as both a writer and a reader. The Girl in the Picture is ultimately a mystery, but it is centered around a romance—so it combines both my strengths and passions into one story.

“. . . shelved projects are never wasted, since they ultimately lead you to creating that Right Idea.”

#3. What does my publishing team want to see me write next?
Girl in the Picture is actually the fourth idea I pitched my editor and publisher over the past six months. It often takes awhile to hit upon the right idea that’s both compelling and unique enough, and fits well with the current marketplace. Once again, never giving up is key! It’s always a bummer when a story you fall in love with doesn’t move forward, but those shelved projects are never wasted, since they ultimately lead you to creating that Right Idea. Plus, you never know- you could always reimagine a previously-shelved idea later on in your career.

So start brainstorming your next idea, and then join me for the ride of Drafting!

Alelxandra Monir

Alexandra Monir is an author and recording artist in her twenties. Suspicion is her third novel published by Random House. Her debut was the popular time-travel romance, Timeless, followed by the 2013 sequel, Timekeeper. Alexandra currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is at work on her 2016 novel, while also composing and recording original music. Her music can be found on iTunes, and you can visit her website at Follow Alexandra @TimelessAlex.