Ignore your novel

I’ve heard it said that an author should walk away from their novel and let it rest.  The advice goes something like this: ‘Did you just finish your draft? Good. Walk away and don’t touch it.’

Ahem. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t do that. I go from first draft into second immediately. No rest for this gal.

Is it a mistake?

Catharine Bramkamp claims it is in this great post. “…growing and nurturing the space between the first draft and the second draft is the most important thing you can do for your work.”

Linda S. Clare recommends the exact same thing in this post. “ I recommend letting it rest a month or more.”

They’re not alone. Here are a few others: CG Blake; Kay Kenyon. The idea is that, after a break, you’ll hit your work with fresh eyes.

That manuscript, you’ve just slaved over for months, is compared to bread dough.images-18

Apparently, it needs time to rise to its potential.

FD_1It’s certainly food for thought. 🙂


21 thoughts on “Ignore your novel

  1. I too tend to get in a zone and just want to power through it to perfection, but I do notice that when I’m forced to wait, like when I’ve sent it off to be read by someone and can’t work on it, when I finally do look at it again, I do have a better perspective on it and notice things I missed before 🙂

  2. Yes. You should. You need to take a sort of mental break from the work you just did partly to rest your brain from it and partly to just let it mature. Even if the only break is the few days it takes your beta readers to look it over, it is still a good thing to ‘ignore’ the manuscript for a while. Then when you come back to it, you can see the problems and the good points more clearly.

    Can you tell that I 1) do this and 2) believe it works? Well, when I manage to write that is…

  3. I can say that it gives you distance. Everything is still fresh in your head. You see things you want to see and not what is really there. We’re too close to our stories.

  4. It depends on how long the first draft is and how long it took me to finish it, IMO. If it’s 20k I finished in a week, you bet I’ll let it rest a month to see where I messed up. If it’s 200k and took me a year to finish the first draft, it’s been a year since I saw the first chapters, so I am perfectly okay with breaking that rule and going right into editing. Unless I need a break, because, you know, 200k don’t just march onto the page on their own. 😉

  5. Pingback: Top posts for May | Taylor Grace

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