Friday, May 8, 2015

Tips for Editing Your Manuscript from a Real-Life Editor, Part 11

Welcome back to our (ir)regularly scheduled programming! 

As always, the links to the other parts in this series are at the bottom of the page.

This is Part 11: Sit on it.

No, I don't mean that in a weird rude way. 

We, as authors/writers/whatever you want to call yourself, are generally too close to our own writing to get any perspective.  You know how when you read a book (doesn't matter what kind) and can pick out errors? That's because you're a set of fresh eyes on it. 

And with our own manuscripts, there comes a time when you're literally unable to continue editing it because you're too close to the story, characters, and everything else.  At this stage, it's extremely frustrating--and bad for your manuscript--to keep going. Trust me on this. 

So, in order to get something close to a fresh set of eyes when you're the only one around to edit your manuscript, or before you send it to an editor you've hired, or what have you, you need to distance yourself from your work.  Let it sit for a while.  

The time period can vary from author to author; I prefer at least a couple of months; some authors I know let it percolate for a few weeks while they draft or outline another story. I'm aware of others who got to the point where they hated their manuscript, set it down for a year or more, and finally picked it up and edited it into something they were happy with.

I've recently started on what I feel will be my final run-through (before any kind of publication, self or otherwise begins) on my novel, Fate's Awakening. This is the first time I've really--really--looked at it as a whole in a number of months, and I'm surprised that I like what I've written. It's getting a few tweaks here and there, but nothing major (at least until it hits another editor).  See, the last time I looked at it, I hated it. I wanted to hit delete on the whole thing, and that's how I knew it was time to step back.

So, if you're done with your manuscript, schedule some time to take a break from it and sit on it for a while. Work on something else, then come back to it.  It'll do wonders.

I know this one was a shortie, but, as always, I hope it was helpful!  Let me know what your ideal "sit on it" period is in the comments. I know it's different for everyone!

xoxo Sarah

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