OK, so you’ve finished your rough draft… now what? Send it to the editor, beta readers, alpha readers? How about leave it alone? I figured this out accidentally by being a bit ADD and jumping around from one story to the next. I’ve blogged about that before, and I’ll blog about it again soon as I’ve learned more, but for now I’m going to talk about forgetting about a story.
When I am in the midst of writing, I’m seeing multiple angles of a story at the same time. This is important for creating, but it can also be a bad thing. It’s one of the main reasons for beta readers and editors. No writer can see all the mistakes they made, no matter how vigilant they are. Part of the reason for this is the writer sees more of the story than what they write. something can seem fully explained when it isn’t at all. The more someone writes the less they do this, but it still happens.
When you let your story rest, and subsequently forget about it, when you go back to it, it’s like you are reading it for the first time. At least at first. When I did this some stories I was surprised at how good they were, as I thought they weren’t that great. Others I thought were good enough, weren’t at all. One story I was confused at, and having written it, with the full idea in my mind, that was unacceptable.
Another I thought explained itself well enough, but when a beta reader went over it, it greatly confused them. There was also a “promise” I had made in the beginning of the story that I intended to leave unfulfilled, but doing so would have upset my readers as the promise wasn’t one that was acceptable to leave hanging. That’s another blog in itself which I will post later.
So in closing, give the editor and beta readers a break, and let your rough draft rest before you send it off. Also, consider this… if an editor charges per hour (which isn’t a normal rate, but I’ve seen it) then having so many corrections which could have been caught by yourself will jack up the cost the editor will charge. Consider again, if the editor charges by the word count, having so many corrections can increase the time they will take, and might even cause your manuscript to be rejected because too many corrections were needed.