Lesson 2 of 5

Put It In The Drawer

First of all, put your manuscript away… Six weeks at least. Set a date in your calendar with a reminder to prompt you (set and forget!). Only after then will you be able to look at the draft with any kind of objectivity. Not only will you be better positioned to see the flaws in your work, but you’ll also surprise yourself with how good it can be.

What can you do while you’re waiting? Maybe write something else…? I recommend that you work on your Academy Roadmap and read good books. Feed your mind with great fiction (or nonfiction). What you’ll inevitably notice is, now that you’ve finished a book, you will have become a lot more aware of how fiction works with all its moving parts. Remind yourself what great writing reads like. Ideally, make it contemporary fiction (Dickens is wonderful, but his archaic style might not help you as much here — read what’s selling now). And shake it up. If you’re writing romance, don’t just read more romance. Read outside of your genre. Pick the best books you can find*. You’ll notice how they solve the problems that you’ll be facing in your rewrites. Steal liberally. Make notes of all the good stuff as you’ll need it for your edit.

*There is a danger here… You’ll go from reading edited, polished, award-winning, bestselling prose, to your scrappy first draft full of holes and errors. Don’t be despondent. All of those books were once rough first drafts, too. 

The first draft is for you and you only. No one else gets to see your dirty laundry.

This is also a good time to beta read the work of your Academates. The process of reading a work-in-process and giving constructive feedback is great preparation for your own edit.

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