Back Burner Editing

I’m a big fan of finishing a manuscript and setting it aside. No, that’s not ‘aside’ as in I just sent it off to a publisher. I’ve still got a lot of work to do on my baby.

I get a chuckle out of movies or television shows that portray writers in front of a typewriter and the like pouncing away at keys until the last thing they type is that mythical creature known as ‘THE END’. That’s not how it works. rarely is a first, or rough, draft polished enough to send to a publisher.

Once those two little words are scrawled on your document, set it aside and grab a tall glass of anything and celebrate. You finished it! Congratulations! Finished drinking your tasty beverage? Good. Have another. In fact, take a break from that particular manuscript. Start another one or remember that you have a family/friends/life and indulge. The most important thing is not to pick up that manuscript right away. Just like after a NaNo frenzy.

Like wine, it needs to age.

You need to purge any and everything you remember about that particular document from your memory. It’s important to have fresh eyes when you peek at it again. There is no solid guideline or timeframe for this and I think it also depends on the length. Doesn’t it always, ladies? 😉 I’d say the minimum I prefer is about a week. Flash or really short stories I might let simmer for about three days. The important thing is I’ve moved on to something else, even if it’s jotting down ideas.

Now open that document up or rip through your desk trying to find where you stashed it to avoid temptation. Like a piece of decadent cake or pie, pick at it slowly and savor the flavor. Look for hints of missing punctuation in its million layers of goodness. Pick out the pesky pits in the plot holes. Love your manuscript like it was a virgin all over again.

All of this will hopefully knock that starry-eyed crush factor out of your head. OMG! Isn’t my story soooo dreamy? Everyone’s going to want to invite it to the publishing dance, I just know it!

This is the same concept, I think, that makes those WTF? novels get popular. So many people gush over it and the landslide of saliva erupts sweeping every good out of its path. A shot in the dark is tempting…awfully tempting. However, I’d rather take my time and offer a product that has been well researched, doesn’t bash a particular fetish or pigeonhole it into something it’s not, or make something that questions what language I actually am fluent in(American, if you haven’t guessed). I want those little quirks that make a reader go ‘oh!’ and if it’s my naughty side, make them go YES YES YES!