Plays With Words: Words Need to Rest, Too

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Never mind the lights and snow and mistletoe – December is a crazy time of year. By mid-December, everyone is busy managing giant to-do lists before the holidays, and if you’re in school, semester finals are nothing to take lightly, either.

For that reason, December is a great time to step away from the novel you finished (or almost finished) writing in November and give yourself some space. After all, if you’re going to edit and revise it in the next few months, you need to rest and let your Inner Editor slowly come out of hibernation. While it might feel unnatural to let your work rest, it’s an important part of the process.

I asked L.S. Murphy, author of the YA paranormal novel Reaper and headline author of the YA anthology One More Day, what she does during this stage of the writing process.

YA Interrobang: How long do you wait after finishing a draft before you attack it for edits and revisions?

L.S. Murphy: Usually I wait about a month or so. Sometimes more, sometimes less depending on the project and what else I have going on.

YA Interrobang: Why do you wait that long?

L.S. Murphy: I like to let the story simmer. Usually, when I finish a first draft, my brain is fried and I need a break. Four weeks gives me enough time to step back and relax, and not overthink everything.

YA Interrobang: What do you do while you’re letting your first draft “rest?”

L.S. Murphy: Work on something else. Outlining, plotting, building characters. Sometimes start something new. 🙂

YA Interrobang: What advice can you offer writers who have finished their first draft and are anxious to get it out into the world, whether it’s via self-publishing or by querying agents and editors?

L.S. Murphy: DON’T!!!!!! Stop!!!! You don’t want to send a first draft out. EVER. Let it rest. Patience is a virtue in this business. And find a critique partner who won’t lie to you and tell you the manuscript is perfect.

Over the next few issues, I’ll cover the processes of editing, revising, and polishing the manuscript, but in the meantime, enjoy the holidays and the rest of the year, and let all those words rest. You and your novel both deserve it.

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About Author

E.M. Caines

E.M. Caines writes as Ella Martin and is the author of Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up?.