Sunday, April 5, 2015

Back to the Manuscript

After four months, I've returned to the manuscript I wrote during National Novel Writing Month. 

I actually started on the rewrite, edit and revisions on April 1, and that's no joke. I did the same with "The Bully List" two years ago. 

For me, I need the passage of time to revisit the manuscript with fresh eyes and renewed interest in the story. 

There's a lot of work to be done to get the manuscript ready for publication: Holes to fill, scenes to connect or delete,  dialogue to fix, characters to develop, details to describe, and as the late, great novelist Elmore Leonard recommended to all writers, take out the stuff that readers don't read.

So, as you can surmise,  I have a lot of work ahead of me in the coming weeks. And there will be more since I usually go over a manuscript nine or ten times before I'm ready to let it go to the next stop on the publishing ladder.

I find the process to be mentally draining as I usually spend only two hours at a time before I have to take a prolonged break. But during that time after I close the file, I think about what I've done to the manuscript. I often go back to something I just worked on and make changes, before moving on. 

I sleep on it as well. I believe most writers will tell you that they carry along thoughts about their manuscript -- and much of it subconsciously -- during all hours of the day.

One of my favorite quotes about writing and thinking is attributed to Burton Rascoe -- "What no wife of a writer can ever understand, no matter if she lives with him for twenty years, is that a writer is working when he's staring out the window."

I must add that my wife isn't buying that from me!

Until the next time...

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