Friday, August 10, 2012

Letting your manuscript chill!

Today or tomorrow I will draft the last scene of the novel I am currently working on. I wrote for almost two hours this morning, then stopped to go to the gym. I could take the time to finish it today or I could wait until my early morning writing tomorrow to do it. I will probably do the latter. There is something wonderfully sacred about writing first thing in the morning and since much of this novel has been written in that sacred time, it seems fitting to draft those last couple of pages then.

Once that scene is completed and I've created a few bits of transition that I know need doing, I will put the manuscript away for at least a couple of weeks and let it chill--maybe until the end of the month. There are times in the process where I need to let things cook: scenes that are problematic, characters I don't know how to develop, too many possibilities for the next part of the plot. I spend time thinking about them, writing about them, doodling about them. I walk and consider, I shower and consider. I let them cook.

But when the draft is complete, I need cool distance, I need space between me and the narrative arc, me and the details of the characters. I need to not think about it for a while so that I can come back with fresh eyes and find what needs to be added and what needs to be pared away. So in my writing refrigerator, I'm making room for this new dish to chill for a while.

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