The Neverending Donut

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!

Ha! Perfect!

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”

  1. 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.

      1. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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…”

  4. 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…..

  5. 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! 😉

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