Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Like Fine Wine...

Today, I completed the read-through of my new novel. I'm very proud at this moment. It may be the effect of the special energy concoction I twitted about...

I needed a boost and this one did it. I was able to complete the non-editing read-through of my first draft. I found some holes, some gaps, and some not so impressive areas. But that's what the 2nd draft is for, right?

All in all, I am very happy. I got goosebumps at the end of the story. That has to be good, particularly since I knew how it ended :)

When I finished my first draft, I set aside my manuscript for two weeks. I was very good about it. Not once did I read it. I was tempted. Big time. Here's another one of my paranoid tweets:

On Writing: 10th Anniversary Edition: A Memoir of the CraftI waited two weeks. My hero, Stephen King, in his book on the craft of writing (On Writing) recommends a minimum of two weeks, ideally a month.

My other hero, James Scott Bell, also recommends the same thing in his fantastic books.

Plot & Structure: (Techniques And Exercises For Crafting A Plot That Grips Readers From Start To Finish) (Write Great Fiction)So I did, and it was the best thing I could have done. The time created distance and objectivity. In fact I had forgotten a lot of the details. Even the name of the bad guy had escaped me. I was able to read it like a "near" first time reader.

On my first novel, ACES, the two weeks was painful. With this one, I was able to handle it. During the two weeks I read books that I need to read, worked on my blog, got sick, and worked on strategy documents for my day job. And because I worked on other things, I was able to get a lot more value from the process.

Tell me, what's your process between your first draft and when you read the entire manuscript again?

How long do you wait?
What do you do to fill that space?


  1. I try to wait 3-4 weeks. During that time, I work on discovery for my next MS, get caught up on craft and fun reading, and generally let my brain relax. It was easy to wait a month this time because I finished at the end of November and December was busy.

    It's amazing how much you see when you set it aside. I notice things I would have missed before, and scenes that didn't seem so great when I was writing them looked a lot better with some objectivity.

    Good luck!

  2. Next time, I'm going for 4 weeks. I think you're right. The longer it sits, a lot of new things show up. Okay, maybe 3. I have no will power!

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