I’ve been going back through my manuscript and looking at anything that isn’t quite right. I’ve been really picky, sometimes changing just one or two words, sometimes changing paragraphs. I’ve realized something as I’ve gone through that I think is critical in the writing process: It’s good to put down your manuscript and come back to it later.
I’ve seen so many things I never saw before. I can’t count the number of times I’ve decided to cut a scene altogether, or to combine it with another one. The first few times through I was just getting the story in. I wrote everything that came to my mind — scenes that were just fun, conversations I imagined had happened, everything. This time, I’ve really wanted to make sure everything has a reason, that everything moves the story forward in some way. Sometimes it’s hard. There have been scenes I loved that I cut. They just weren’t necessary. And as hard as that is sometimes, it’s part of the process, and it makes the manuscript better and tighter.
3 thoughts on “The learning curve…”
So true. I think one of the hardest things about writing is letting that finished first draft sit in a corner–I know I have to force myself to step away for at least a week and the temptation is so strong to return to it too soon, but the time away is crucial to seeing it with a fresh eye. Just as hard: cutting your work. But now, after so many years and good advisers, I can find such relief in dramatic edits–it can be so liberating, parring down and accepting that even if I love the way a line or a scene reads, if it doesn’t work in the overall story, it’s fundamentally flawed and has to go.
This is what I learned during the last few rounds of revision–that every scene and dialogue should be present only if it advances the plot in some way, or develops the characters in some manner.
Thanks for sharing this with us! Keep us updated 🙂
After I finished writing my first draft, I let it cool down for almost two months (that’s how long I was able to stay away from my manuscript) and it truly gave me a fresh perspective. I saw many mistakes, and found out that some of the much needed scenes were missing. Like you, my first draft was basically me getting the story out of my head and down to paper so a long round of revision is upon me!
Good luck to both of us 🙂