Monday, March 11, 2019

Time and Distance (and a Short, Off-topic Distraction)

Saturday night, I finished the first draft of Ugly and the Beast.

Sunday morning, I realized I hate the end.  Well, not hate exactly, but it's certainly not everything I want it to be.  So I opened the file and went to the end with grandiose ideas of how I was going to fix everything.  And then I closed the file.  Fourteen hours is not enough time to let anything simmer.  And this writing stuff definitely needs time to simmer.

That's not to say I'm going to let the whole manuscript simmer.  I've had sufficient time away from the beginning parts to dive into those ASAP.  Good god, I started writing this thing last year.  Then I rewrote the beginning months ago.  Plenty of time to provide the distance I need.

If you jump right into editing something you just wrote, two things will happen - you'll still be in love with every word or it'll flip and you'll hate everything.  The latter is what usually happens to me.  I go though the 'OMG, I can't believe I wrote this crap' phase almost every time I don't give myself distance from it.

Now, for me, distance isn't that hard to achieve.  The memory thing I've got going on gives me distance quicker than probably a lot of other people.  It usually takes about a week.  Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer.  By the time I get done making edit notes on the stuff I wrote months ago, I should be in a place to edit the stuff I wrote in the past couple weeks.

We'll see how that goes.

I had originally planned to have this in my editor's hands by the end of the month.  That gives me about three weeks.  I've been in touch with AWE and she's cool with that, but because of some other stuff she has going on, it'll be a 5 week turnaround this time.  And I'm cool with that.  If I get it to her in 3 weeks, she does 5 weeks, I turn around my 2nd round in 2 weeks, she does her thing in 3 weeks, I polish and get formatted in say another 2 weeks.  That puts us 15 weeks out for publication.  Hold on while I do the math...  mid-June.  Good lord willin' and the crick don't rise.

Sorry, got away from the topic there for a second.  What was I saying?  Oh, yeah, time and distance.  You absolutely need 'em.  They give you a shot at objectivity.  They allow you to look at your writing with fresh eyes.  They let you actually see that your work is neither the greatest thing ever nor a total pile of dreck.

How much time do you need to get distance from your work?


  1. I guess I'm weird. I don't need much time. Of course, I don't edit as I got. I write (when I'm writing) the whole things, whether from beginning to end, or in short bursts of scenes that I eventually put into order and fill in the blanks between them. Once it's all in order, I'm ready to go back to the beginning. I usually read it straight through to make sure it makes sense and all the scenes are in the right order. Then I go back and start revisions and edits. Then it goes off for 3rd-party edits, and then back to me for the final version.

    But I'm weird. :)

  2. Congrats on finishing the first draft!

    I do rolling edits, but I still need time to let it simmer. Especially the beginning and the end. Those get changed *many* times before I'm happy enough to let my MS go out into the world.