When you are all finished with your manuscript, and you’ve run it through your critique partners, there is a big temptation to tinker with it. To have one more once-over, do some fine-tuning, and see about how much more to tweak it.
Maybe don’t do that.
Don’t fine tune your book into
oblivion eternity. At some point, it’s not better, it’s just different.
What I do is send it out to beta readers.
(Read about writing drunk, editing sober, and breaking rules HERE)
On Poggibonsi: an Italian misadventure, I sent the “finished” MS out to 20 people to read and give me the general feedback. I wanted them to read it like a regular reader would. (Yes, there were some typos. Sue me.)
The finishing of the manuscript is a very difficult time for a writer. (Apparently it was for Mr. Capote.) Some people want to keep polishing book one forever, and that prevents them from ever putting out a book two.
Others (like me) tend to think as soon as the first draft is done, it’s ready for the world – and they launch it before it’s really ready.
Obviously the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle.
However, you have to be able to take some time away from your baby, to be able to be objective about it. Now, I will not pretend that any author is ever fully objective about their manuscript, but I will say that sticking it on the shelf for a year and then looking at it – with not ever having looked at it for the 364 days in between- you will be much more objective.
I actually did that once. Me. Can you believe it? (It’s called An Angel On Her Shoulder.)
But a year is too long, so I wait a month. I’m pushed hard to even wait that long. While my book is out with the betas and before we look at publishing it, this is THAT month. We wait. We develop what will be fresh eyes for it again.
Yes, I’m working on my blog and other stories, but I’m trying very hard not to look at my finished manuscript, so when my beta readers are finished I can look at it a little more objectively – and hopefully put out a better product.
Wish me luck.
What do YOU do to put your baby down and walk away or to develop objectivity for your MS?
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Check out his other works HERE.