Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Great Wait

Today I'd like to talk about The Great Wait.

We all know in publishing that the process involves a lot of waiting.  When we send our book baby queries out into the big bad publishing world, or our agent sends submissions out to editors, we're prepared for the waiting time we know is going to come.  It might not be easy, in fact as I so intimately know, it's actually a vortex of never ending time, but we're at least prepared.

So that's not the wait I want to talk about.

I am, in fact, talking about The Great Wait in regards to letting your manuscript rest, before you send out the queries, and before your editors submissions go out.  One of the most common new writer mistakes I see is manuscripts sent out a long time before they're ready.  How do I know this?  Because I've made the very same mistake.  How do I know it's a mistake?  Because after agent, editor and CP comments, and after a considerable wait, I've come back and looked at my work and found a hundred ways to make it better.

I recently went through this process with my gothic novel.  I loved it.  I thought it was great.  Then over time, comments and suggestions, I came to realize it could be so much MORE.  I've been chatting with a few new writers lately and all they want to do is go, go, GO!  And yes, their work is fab, and yes it's clean and good.  But...who knows what a little time will do?  Distance.  Enough distance that you can't remember every word you typed and why you chose every line you did.

If you can get that kind of distance, you can read objectively.  And that's what it's all about.  You need to be able to be objective.  Have you ever bought a pair of shoes you just had to have, and a year later you're totally out of love with them?  Well, books can be like that too.  I'm not saying you should wait a whole year.  I'm saying you should put your money back in your purse, go for a walk around the shopping center, and come back a week later to see if that thrill is still there.  In fact, make it two weeks.  A month.  However long it takes for you to be able to read your book like a NEW reader.

Trust me.  It'll help.  I used to not believe this.  I used to nod my head and go "yeah, yeah, yeah".  But I was wrong.  TRUST ME.  Welcome to The Great Wait.  I'll see you on the bench.

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