Marinading a manuscript

When writing a new book I often feel impatient to finish it. There is really no need for this, considering that I enjoy the actual process of writing so much, and know that I am likely to feel a depressing sense of anticlimax when it is done. Melodramatic though it sounds, perhaps I am afraid I might die before the book is complete.

Modern self-publishing technology makes it easy to rush into print too soon. The front page of the Amazon kdp website says Get to market fast … Publishing takes less than 5 minutes. What a contrast to the old days when writers usually had to wait several months for agents and publishers to respond to a proposal, implement any changes requested during the assessment process, and then wait several more months between acceptance and publication.

I try not to be impatient because I know most books turn out better if they are written slowly, going through several revisions with gaps in between. When re-reading a draft manuscript after several weeks or months, I often have new ideas about how to improve it, and discover mistakes or inconsistencies which I did not notice before.

Though this slow staged method works best in most cases, it does not suit everyone. Some of the most brilliant writers – and artists, and composers – have produced their best work through a single burst of creative inspiration, not needing to revise it at all.

This is all a bit like cooking. A skilled chef using top quality fresh ingredients can produce delicious meals in a few minutes, but for the average cook most dishes are improved by being marinaded in the raw state and then being cooked slowly, and taste even better if reheated a day or two later.

I’ve just finished the first draft of my third novella, which will form a trilogy with Carmen’s Roses and Blue Moon for Bombers. I intend to discipline myself to put the new manuscript aside for a few weeks before doing any more work on it, and in the meantime start writing something different, step up my marketing activities, or even clean out some cupboards at home.

2 thoughts on “Marinading a manuscript

  1. *You are correct Jenny. Balance between spontaneity and `aged` writing, without loosing the nuances. *

    *Directly after a Rotary speaker talked about science, I got an unedited message into my brain: “The less people know , the more we believe in”. **I am, however, very confused when `scientists` mix facts and fiction. Example: Climate Change. From my view of point there have been enormous changes of all kinds during the last 13,7 billion years. It would have been more constructive to focus on reducing pollution.*

    *Arny * *Professional writer: political analysis from the military front lines to the brains of Milosevic (extremest) and Tudjman (megalomania). Pol Pot and his totalitarian agriculture policy was much easier to understand. *

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