I want to share with you a lesson I learned from a very wise young man. My 20 year old son. He is quite the visionary attending the University of Florida, hoping to eventually enter the film industry. Very often he reviews my books and gives some very good suggestions. Well here is what I learned…
I, like most authors, get very excited about what I write. I love my books and my characters, and I can’t wait to share them with my readers. I really like gettting my books out so people can be as excited about them as I am. So…because of this I tend to rush the editing process. I have read other authors say that they allow the manuscript to marinate for a while and then go back to it. A blog reader commented on that very thing in my last Writing Tip entry. He mentioned Dean Koontz, one of my favorite authors, revises each page 40 times!
Well little Miss Impatient here has a hard time with that. Then I ran into a wonderful editor. His name is Frank, and he made me realize that good things come to those who wait. Now I knew this already, but just had blinders on when it came to my own work. After backing off the rush to get this book out, I did just what I should have done and put the book aside. Let others review it and offer some suggestions. Let the manuscript sit for several weeks before I went back to it. Just slowed the process down. And you know what? I found things that really needed to be changed. Personality quirks in my characters that weren’t consistent, errors I overlooked. Little things that some readers may not have picked up on, but they were errors still the same.
I also found ways to build my scenes, enhancing the reader’s visual experience experience. (Hey, sounds like another good blog topic!) I was able to improve dialogue that sounded stiff and clunky. I built in subtle hints on things to come that rocketed the story to another level.
I really have learned a valuable lesson. Slow down and let that cake bake a little longer. Let the manuscript rest and then go back to it with fresh eyes. This is nothing new to more experienced writers who have perfected their craft, but it was a lesson I wanted to share. Don’t rush a good thing. Make it the best it can be, BUT don’t work it to death – that’s what your editors job is, so give them something to do, but give it the time and attention it deserves. You’ll be glad you did.