I am now two weeks into a self imposed six week break away from my manuscript and random scenes and characters are still wandering through my head. Taking a break between drafts is important because it helps me regain needed perspective and distance. While writing I get too close to the story and can no longer see what’s on the page as compared to what’s in my head. The best way to overcome this is time away.
Taking a break doesn’t come without a downside. The other night one of my characters brought up a plot error, an action that didn’t make sense for the character in question. I wanted him to be wrong and ignore the problem but he wouldn’t let me alone. I didn’t pull out the manuscript, I know that’s what he wanted, so over the course of the day I mentally worked over the problem until something clicked. If I didn’t, I know he wouldn’t let me sleep.
Even with random characters haunting my steps, being away from the book has been a welcome change. I’ve finally had the time to work on some of my smaller projects and see progress there. The one short story I’ve been editing is only a few pages from turning itself into a novella if I’m not careful. My goal is to have it finished and submitted to a few markets for publication before I return to work on the book.
For the next four weeks I’m looking forward to continuing work on my short stories and taking a bit of a break before diving back into the gritty process of refining and editing the manuscript. After this draft it will be ready for beta readers! As much as if terrifies me, I’m looking forward to getting some real world feedback.
Do I ever hear you. I may be doing this all wrong, but I have set a deadline to finish my revisions. Stephen King tells me (indirectly through his “On Writing” book) to write through it. At times my head spins and the creative pipes clog with too many ideas. So, if I don’t meet that deadline I may be taking 6 weeks in a rehab center.
Deadlines are important or we get nothing done. I don’t have a fixed deadline for this project and I need one!
That’s wonderful, Jodi . . . good luck getting it ready for your beta readers.
Hi Jodi, Proud of you for putting your book down for that long. It’s hard isn’t it? You feel like you’re ignoring your friends – and now that I think about it, when you start feeling that way, it’s probably time to step away. What are beta readers?
It’s been hard, I still can’t peel my mind away from it. It helps having other projects to work on. Beta readers are the friends and writing buddies you inflict your book on first to get feedback. It’s a great way to find any flaws or weak points in the story.