Take Some Time Off!

Recently I pulled out a story I haven't looked at in over a year. A mega awesome YA Rom Com with funny characters, heart-warming friendships and knee-knocking kisses. I queried it, but didn't find any success, and moved on to other stories in the meantime.

Here are some things I've found very interesting about coming back to a project after not even glancing at it in 12 months:

1. I still loved my story and thought it was FUNNY (I made myself laugh out loud, at things I'd forgotten were even in there!). And I knew I needed to not let it go, to get it out where others could enjoy it too.

2. That being said, I got bored in some places.

3. I noticed and (gasp) even agree with things/critiques others had pointed out that I hadn't agreed with at the time.

4. I noticed plot holes and overall reasons the book just wasn't working. But they were things that could TOTALLY work with the right adjustments (see number 1.)

Before, I've always written and been in SUCH A HURRY to get it out before someone else gets something similar out, or get it out because I just wanted an agent right this second. And I've heard advice from multiple sources, including Stephen King, who've said to step back, take time away from a ms before putting it out there.

Though I couldn't find the exact quote, I'm pretty sure I remember Stephen King saying to wait at least six months.

Six months!!

I could never fathom that before. But now I see how valuable it is! Plus, that's excellent timing to work on new ideas that pop up, or other books that have been *waiting their turn*. I'm excited to jump back into this funny YA Rom Com and get it spiffed up.

What are your thoughts--do you wait a period of time between editing drafts?

And just to illustrate how I've been feeling, this song gets under my skin and pumps me up!



Jaime Morrow said...

Yes! I know this exact feeling. I've been away from a WiP I'd queried (with no real success) for about 6-7 months and am just now getting back to it. It's amazing how much clearer you can see the awesomeness and the flaws after time away. Like you, I think I was in such a hurry to get it out there before someone else came up with the idea that I didn't do my absolute best work. It's wonderful knowing that all of the hard work wasn't for nothing, but it just needs a little bit more. Good luck with your story! :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I guess I do it all wrong - as soon as I finish, I start editing. I did let my first manuscript sit thirty years. Yeah, it was BAD. (But with rewrites, it became my first published book.)
You need to tackle that story again. Sounds like you know how to fix it.

Suzi said...

Letting it sit definitely works for me. The exact time period? I don't know. I get that fresh perspective like you said, but also, I usually get little ideas about details that help me develop characters.

Mason T. Matchak said...

I like this idea and really should try it out. I have novels I finished and haven't touched since, as I'm wholly convinced that they're horrible, but who knows? They might be better than I remember. (Or worse.) Same with some older plots, I should dig them up... thanks!

Morgan said...

Right??? The LAST thing a writer wants to do after finishing a project is let it SIT. There's so much pressure to stay ahead of trends and 6 months can make a BIG difference... but stepping away really is the best editing tool ever... spot on post!

Ruth Schiffmann said...

I'm big on patience (even though it drives me CRAZY) I do wait. Sometimes I think maybe I wait too long. But every time I go back to the story I can see clearly and make it better, so it'll be worth it in the end, right?!
So great that you're still in love with your story and ready to get back to work on it. Good luck!

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