Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Start to Finish (Part 8 of 10)

Ignore the manuscript for a time.

Many writers feel exhilarated or relieved when they write the final word and want to get it to the editor or agent. Resist that urge. Look at it again critically. Does this sentence make sense? Did I explain it thoroughly? Did I over-explain?

After I close the file on a manuscript and leave it a few days, perhaps as long as a month, I've always improved it. I use the absolute always because I mean without exception.

When I return to the material, I read it with new insight because the material has been churning in my unconscious mind. (I intentionally put the previous sentence in the passive voice. I could have written: My unconscious mind churned the material, but the emphasis was on the action (churning) and not on the actor (my mind). This is an extra tip.

Write to get the story written; rewrite to improve the quality.


  1. Good reminder. I have tried this a few times and find that I am able to see my work with fresh eyes.


  2. Time away from the manuscript always (intentional use of absolute) helps me, too. And I appreciate the reminder as an additional tip to share with Writer Wannabes this weekend. Thanks, Cec.

  3. Good point, Cecil. Just finished my third novel. I set my WIP aside between drafts to gain distance and perspective. But after the final draft ... had not thought about that. Thanks.

  4. I love it that our subconscious minds work when we sleep, go on a walk, or eat chocolate with our eyes closed. God is sweet to give us this magnificent tool called a brain.

    My problem is, I fix and revise and edit until I make things worse!


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