Monday, December 08, 2008

Maria Murnane Guest Blogger Today- She's Perfect on Paper

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Anything can look perfect…on paper

When her fiancé calls off their wedding at the last minute, Waverly Bryson wonders if her life will ever turn out the way she thought it would…or should. Her high-powered job in sports PR? Not so perfect. Her relationship with her dad? Far from it. Her perfect marriage? Enough said.

Perfect on Paper is a humorous tale of Waverly’s efforts to cobble the pieces of a broken yesterday into a brand new tomorrow. What does the future have in store for her? Will she finally find what she’s looking for?

Her dates? Cringe-inducing at times, definitely entertaining
Her friends? Often amused, definitely supportive
Her new crush? Possibly intrigued, definitely a catch
The results? Hardly perfect, definitely just right

Sounds like a great book. Now let's hear from Maria how it came about.

Writing process?

When I first decided that I was going to write a book, I sat down and sketched out an outline for what the main character would be like, who her friends would be, what her job would be , etc. Then I made some notes about other things I wanted to include in the book, including somehow weaving the greeting card idea into them, the infamous Brad Cantor character, funny bad dates, etc. Then I started making a brief outline for the plot, or at least the first part of the plot, because I honestly didn’t know where it was going to end up. But I knew enough about what I wanted to write to get me from about A to D (assuming an entire book was A to Z), so I just started writing and figured that I would figure it out as I went along.

Once I got going, the writing process was pretty regular. I was living in Argentina at the time and playing on a soccer team that took up most of my time during the day, so I would write for a couple hours every morning, and then a couple hours ever y evening. And in between I would jot down a lot of notes to myself on post-its, etc.

Many times I’d wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for something I wanted to include in the book, so I’d keep a notepad by my bed. I remember being on the bus when it hit me how I wanted to end the book, so I scribbled it down in a little notebook in my backpack, right there on the bus. I think I was even standing up at the time.

I think the hardest part of the whole writing process was after I’d written a few chapters and didn’t know if it was any good— so I emailed it to my good friend Lindsay and made her promise to tell me the truth. It took two weeks for her to get back to me, so of course during that time I thought she hated it and just didn’t know how to tell me. But when she did get back to me, the subject line of her email was “your book is awesome,” and she went on to say how impressed she was and that she truly wanted to read more to find out what was going to happen in the story. I still have that email—in fact I forwarded it to her the other day just to thank her again for that early encouragement.

After that first hump, writing the book actually wasn’t all the hard—figuring out what to write was harder. But once I knew what I wanted a particular chapter or scene to encompass, the writing part was pretty easy. Occasionally I would write something that just didn’t fit, and I’d force myself to delete it (never easy), but for the most part the story just sort of took on a life of its own. When I wasn’t exactly sure where to go next with the story, I would go back and edit/rewrite what I’d already written. It worked well that way because the regular reviewing/ editing forced me to stay on track and kept me from looking back and suddenly realizing “holy crap I really need to delete the last 100 pages.”Now that would have been a bummer.

One thing I’ve learned, at least about myself, is that the writing/edit process never ends. I reread Perfect on Paper recently for the first time in awhile, and I found myself thinking “Oh man I wish I could change this, I wish I could change that.” It’s hard to stop the mental editing, even with the book in my hand!

Maria Murnane
Author of Perfect on Paper

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I know how Maria feels. I'm constantly editing my work. What about you? Please leave a comment for Maria.


  1. Hi Maria,
    Welcome to the Double M blog. I hope you have a great time here.

    Morgan Mandel

  2. I totally understand. I rarely read my books after they're in print because I always find things I'd like to change. I guess we writers are perfectionists. :)

  3. Thanks Morgan-- nice to meet another double M! :)

  4. Hi Maria! I keep a notepad by my bed for nighttime notes as well! How fun!

  5. Great insight into the writing process. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Hi Maria,
    Great article. I don't like reading my books after they are published either,because I can always find things I would like to alter
    Double MM, sounds like a ranch (only joking)You could call yourselves the Double M twins.

  7. Since Marvin Wilson bestowed the Double M nickname on me, I've run into many Double Ms everywhere,at work and online. There are many of us out there in the Double M Society. (G)

    Morgan Mandel

  8. Wow! What a lot of great information! I love to read other author's stories, they're so fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I am actually a TRIPLE M, as are my two sisters and brother. It's a bit nuts, but then again so are my parents. Btw if any of you out there end up reading "Perfect on Paper," please drop me a note at maria AT mariamurnane DOT com. Would love to hear from you--really!


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