Jan 3, 2011

Sit and Be Still

One of the most important lessons I learned along this journey, was to let a story sit. Short story or novel, once you feel you're through, it should sit and be still for several weeks.

Novels I let be for months before going back. Errors and the like become so much more obvious once you have freed your mind and senses from the clutches of its forest which blind us to mistakes and what we have covered and what we have not. After a point that sort of thing becomes an unclear stew. Setting the manuscript down for awhile, makes the broth more transparent again - as if sieved through cheese cloth.

Short stories should also sit. I leave them at least a month before coming back and reading again. Only then will I consider beginning the submission process. Usually it results in revisions.

I've learned a lot of other things, but this lesson is one of the more important ones. For me, at least. My thoughts get tangled after a point. I think I've put things in a myriad of times when they are not in the manuscript at all. Only in my head. There are other things I write out multiple times. I'd like to think readers are not fools who need to be bashed over the head over and over to get a point. So those get tampered to once or twice.

Either way, it all become clearer if I give the piece time to just sit. I move on to something else - the next novel or a new short story.

I just finished up a rewrite of a short story and am up to chapter 5 in revisons of my second novel. I aim to get to submissions this week.

What about you? What are you up to? What is one of the more important lessons you learned?