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Old 10th August 2009, 07:43 AM   #1 (permalink)
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They were right...

...about letting your manuscript cool down. I read that advice many times, and yet never believed it. I have one novel that is unpublishable, not because it is a bad story, but because I hawked it round nearly every agent/publisher in the UK when it was barely out of nappies.

A couple of years ago I thought I had a fantasy story ready (almost) to send out. Then I got a job offer that involved emigrating to Australia, and unsurprisingly, I lost focus on the writing for a while. I was really cross, because I'd begun to feel I was getting some momentum established in the UK, however slight; met a couple of agents, attended some cons, you know the sort of thing I mean.

Anyway, all that vanished in the whirl of emigrating, and it was only a few months ago that I finally sat down and took out the manuscript.

OMG.

Suffice to say I now have a new manuscript that is at least 150% better. Distance, both literal and figurative, has enabled me to take a much clearer look at it. I can murder my darlings with only the most minimal pangs, and regard my characters (finally) with the necessary detachment to make them fulfil the story's needs rather than my own.

Two years ago I was distraught at having to stop work on it, and now I'm so relieved I did. I hope, if I become a published writer, that the experience will make me better able to turn out good work without this sort of delay, but it has been a learning experience that I wouldn't want to be without.

So to all you other hopefuls out there, champing at the bit...sometimes the advice you read is right!
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Old 10th August 2009, 02:35 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: They were right...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FionaW View Post
Suffice to say I now have a new manuscript that is at least 150% better. Distance, both literal and figurative, has enabled me to take a much clearer look at it. I can murder my darlings with only the most minimal pangs, and regard my characters (finally) with the necessary detachment to make them fulfil the story's needs rather than my own.
Distance gives you a better perspective. I find doing short stories helps dislodge that 1st draft of a novel from my mind. They're kind of like an after dinner mint, clearing the palette.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 12:38 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: They were right...

Yeah, I just went through the same experience. I was horrified to see what I had written and edited six months after putting it to rest. Its ages better now, but I suspect the same thing might happen against, on a lesser scale if I looked at it again in December.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 11:33 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: They were right...

There's a danger you can be trapped in the same novel forever through always re-tinkering. You're a better writer now than you were six months ago and- bar senility- that will always be the case. Consequently, I find it very difficult knowing when to stop.

Who was it who wrote 'novels are never finished but abandoned'? Off hand, I can't remember but I bet He/ She messed around with that sentence a few days after writing it.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 01:47 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: They were right...

The dangerous thing about self-publishing an ebook is that the text does not solidify into un-mutable print. You can continue to revise it after (ahem) 'publication.'

The service I use (which shall not be named lest I be censored) allows the writer to update the manuscript at any point, and readers who purchased or downloaded a previous version can access the updates. I am ashamed to say that even though I thought I put this thing to bed, I've updated the manuscript three times since posting it less than two weeks ago.

Partly, it's the readers' fault. One reader in particular is providing detailed, chapter by chapter copy edit advice that goes well beyond the realm of spell checkers. I am afraid I'm doomed to revise it at least one more time once she's done.
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Old 22nd October 2009, 04:00 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: They were right...

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Originally Posted by ASparrow View Post
One reader in particular is providing detailed, chapter by chapter copy edit advice that goes well beyond the realm of spell checkers. I am afraid I'm doomed to revise it at least one more time once she's done.
Provided her advice is sound, she sounds a real find.


(For your next book, you might like to let her see it before publication.)

And you might also point her in the direction of the Chrons. (Critiques, in particular. )
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Old 24th November 2009, 05:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: They were right...

A dependable, objective reader is invaluable.
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