Thursday, April 7, 2011

Marinate Your Manuscript

I'm not talking about immersing your MS in oil or salad dressing. This is the marination of a drawer, the dust on a shelf, or the back of your closet.

Writing the last sentence of a MS, knowing that you're finished, is exhilerating. Except that you're not finished, because if the MS hasn't spent some time in a place where you can't think about it for at least a month or longer, then you haven't gotten to the place where objectivity and reason can win the battle over an emotional attatchment to what doesn't work (even though it's eloquently written, witty, or gut-busting hilarious).

Revisions are best served cold. If the MS is hot out of the oven, you won't be able to see past the steamy deliciousness of it. Once you've saved the file, backed it up, and maybe even printed off a hard copy of it, put it away.

Start another project. Get well into writing your next novel, to the point where you're really excited about it.  When you need a little break to clear your head, join a critique group, read a book on creative writing (I love "On Writing" by Stephen King), take a quick online course in an area that would be relevant to your dormant MS.

Now it's time to pull it out and blow the dust off.

You'll find that it's easier to omit/fix things that didnt't work. More importantly, you'll be able to see what doesn't work. If you have a third party opinion on it, it will be easier to take into consideration what they've pointed out.

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