My dad loves to cook, but he doesn’t know how.
He often fries up the wrong parts of the cow.
I’m back to work on Donut Run, my attempt at a rhyming picture book. I’ve been working on this manuscript on and off for the past decade.
I often dig into Donut Run when I’m between projects. As I ponder what to do next, I’ll hear myself say, “Maybe it’s time to finish Donut Run. It should be almost done by now.”
I say this with such conviction that I completely believe it.
At first glance, the manuscript does look almost done. The verses are all there. It has a beginning, middle, and an end. My eyes fall upon a joke or two—and the jokes are still funny!
Yes, I think, this is almost done.
Then I start working. And, no, Donut Run is not almost done. Donut Run is never almost done. Oh, the tortured rhymes! Oh, the pacing! Oh, the…the…the everything!
I grumble and grump. I rethink every plot point. I suddenly hate everything.
I pull out my rhyming dictionary and craft a new stanza that describes the allure of the titular donut:
Be-sprinkled, be-gummied, be-chocolately chipped!
Be-powdery sugary! Strawberry whipped!
On top of all that was white goo and thick glaze
That shimmered and glowed in a tooth-achy haze!
I marvel at my rhyme-y brilliance…Until I realize that my new stanza doesn’t quite work with all of my other stanzas.
I consider throwing out the entire manuscript and starting over. I try to convince myself to get rid of the rhymes. But I can’t. I looove the rhymes. The rhymes drive me crazy, but I love them. They’re not quite right, but I love them. They may never be quite right, but…
This manuscript is my white whale. I no longer work on Donut Run to get the story published. I work on Donut Run to see if I can pull it off.
And I will pull it off.
I will definitely pull it off.
42 Replies to “The Neverending Donut”
Rhyming your donuts is a most worthy cause,
Rhyming your donuts might have some flaws,
No matter if meter might give you pause,
Keep rhyming your donuts simply because.
I knew you’d understand, Cricket.
And it’s udderly amazing what chef abilities your Pop possesses
You know, I thought you’d appreciate the cow reference.
It certainly mooved me to see a plate of bovine mammary as the daily special.
That comment made me snort.
I shall deem your reaction as a compliment.
As you should.
Cursed white whales.
Yes, indeedy. Do you have a manuscript you can’t stop working on?
Yep! Not even “work on” in the sense of actively revising or researching, but mentally processing at a semi-conscious level. It won’t let me go!
I hear you. I got a couple of those, too. If you ever need a critique, I am always at your service.
A donut rhyme is so very sweet,
Don’t worry about its missing beat! – Molly
I’ll try not to! 🙂
You GOT this!
Oh, I got it, all right. But I’d rather get rid of it!
*ties you to the chair*
I am already metaphorically tied to this story.
Shall we start a new chapter kind sir?
I took a rhyming picture book (that I’ve been massaging for five years) to the Highlights workshop with Emma Dryden and Pat Cummings this past weekend. In one day, my small critique group headed by Lisa Cinelli and then Emma, Pat, and Kevin Lewis (former editor now agent) all critiqued it. Suffice to say that the MS started with 28 perfectly rhyming couplets (with seriously fabulous rhyming end words) and got hit by that tornado that came through. I trashed all but 11 couplets, changed the identify of my MC and her family and their setting, got rid of most of my fabulous three and four syllable rhyming words—oh, I was so in love with them!, and rewrote at least one of the two lines in the remaining couplets, so there are now only 21 couplets and occasional interjections—all changed in the span of three days. I didn’t sleep much. But I can tell you that it’s a much stronger story. And its essence, its underlying raison d’être, remains. I’d be happy to take a look at your piece if you’d like. Cheers!
Thanks for the offer, Jilanne. I would be delighted if you could give this dang thing a look-see. Let me give it one more draft and then it’s yours to critique.
Love your “Ode” to the Donut Run. I love how you share your writing struggles. When you read it to your kids, what do they say?
I haven’t read a recent draft of Donut Run to Alex, but he did like the earlier versions.
Anytime I have ever tried to write in rhyme, I come up with 3-4 verses that are great, but no concluding verse and the harder I try the worse it sounds. I feel your pain. Well, not quite, because I just trash them and then move on. You are farther in. Keep at it, one day it will all fall together!
Yes, I sound like Pollyanna or Annie. “The sun will come out tomorrow…”
I bet my bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun.
I LOVE the stanza! I think you will definitely pull it off! You have the right perseverance. There is always a project I want to get done…. I will say that with conviction too! It is cleaning out the attic! Ugh! 🤪
Here’s to both of us! We can do it!! 🥂 Right?? Right??? Mike??? Hello…..
My attic scares me, too. But the reason it never gets cleaned out is because my wife is terrified of it.
I’m not terrified… just dread it. A lot of paperwork to go thru and get rid of. Knick knacks and paddywacks… etc! 🤪
Good for you! Sometimes what appears to be our thorn is our poke in the seat for better. Buckle your seat belt, you’ll get there, but the ride may jostle you! 😉
And sometimes that poke is a herniated disc. Gah!
Hahaha! Though not funny if it’s literal.
I have no rhyme
Most of the time
I often feel that I have no reasonable reason to rhyme.
I don’t see a problem, perhaps it’s my fault.
But that doughnut I would have certainly bought!
Yours truly…. the rough writer.
Well, here’s hoping my donut story will be available for sale someday.
I’m as sure of it as I’m sure the next donut I pick up will have jelly inside and glaze on the outside.
You’re a Krispy Kreme gal! Good for you!
Keep all the sprinkles, the nuts, and goo-glazing
The rhymes and the story will be holey amazing
Thanks for your kindness, but this work is daunting,
Plaguing my dreams with its cruel, ruthless taunting.
I imagine it’s haunting