Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Marinating the Manuscript

Two weeks ago I completed my middle grade historical fiction work-in-progress, and it morphed into a manuscript. Not a finished one, not even close, but the story outline is there, the characters develop and change, the conflict builds and resolves, and most importantly, I GOT TO THE END!

Once my draft was finished, I needed time and distance from my story, figuring this would clarify what needs fixing in it. My manuscript demanded marinating. So that's what I've been doing these two weeks -  marinating my manuscript. Yep. Letting it soak in its for-right-now finished-ness while I soak in summer.

Other than blog posts, I haven't been writing for these few weeks either. After working several months on this manuscript, my brain needed reprieve. My fingers needed to not fly over the keyboard. My creative juices needed time for gathering orangey-ness and grape-ness. And so, I took that time.

Next week, I'll dive into revising. I'm missing my story and characters which signals the orange and grape juices are ripe for revisions and my manuscript marinated long enough. All this brings about an intriguing question  - and I don't think there's a right way or wrong way - but when you reach the end of a manuscript, do you dive right into revising or do you let your manuscript marinate?

11 comments:

  1. They say it's good to let the manuscript rest before diving back in. Good for you for doing that. I try to as well. I find I have fresher eyes that way. Yea for getting it done.

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  2. I've had one marinating for over a year. It should be quite tender and juicy by the time I get back to it. Usually I dive into a new story and write another novel. In the meantime, I send it out to beta readers who don't mind critiquing a first draft.

    Congrats on finishing and letting it rest while you get refreshed. Have fun with the revisions!

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  3. Two weeks is great. I'm letting my sit now for six weeks. I'll read it again in August. Good luck!

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  4. I find reasons not to have to revise it (I know that's bad). So the time it takes me to work my way back to revisions usually serves as the marinating period.
    Oh and I also print the entire manuscript out, put on a table in front of me and... freak out for a while.
    PS: Please do not try this at home.

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  5. Marinating. I'm getting used to it. By the time I do dive back in, it will be more like three or four weeks. Plus my printer is down (and I cannot revise on screen) so I have a kindly friend printing my draft, which might elongate the marinating. And that's okay.

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  6. Carlie M A CullenJuly 13, 2011 at 2:24 PM

    I don't know yet but I'll let you know when I do! It's not that far off so I'll be very interested to know how your revising process goes after the marinating!!

    I'm so pleased for you that you got it finished - way to go Barbara!! :)

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  7. Thank you, Carlie! Keep plugging at yours, and let me know if you're a diver or a marinator. =)

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  8. Even with my little picture book manuscripts, I marinate. Two or three weeks is about right. Once I dive back in, stories that took a couple of weeks to finish take a month or more to revise.

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  9. Genevieve, yes, revising is tough. And I know the revising never feels *really* finished.

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  10. It must feel great to have reached the end of your first draft. I think it's good idea to get a little distance before revisiting it. While it marinates, your subconscious is probably revising anyway.

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  11. Megan, so true. My mind is working, changing, moving scenes. And I already have a twist for the opening chapter. Marinating is good.

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