OK! That’s it! You’ve polished your first draft as much as you can and it’s morphed from what once resembled the literary equivalent of roadkill to something someone might actually want to play with. You’re finally ready for feedback on your novel. Not from professionals, but from people who know a good story when they see it and love you enough to tell you the TRUTH.
So you package it up, send it off and celebrate with chocolate cake, getting stoned, chilled or merely mellow. However, once the celebrations are over, your mind has cleared and returns to your novel, you have some choices to make…
ONE: You can pace the room and fret about what the people reading your precious book are thinking. Are they reading it right now? Are they hating it and trying to think of a way to give you bad news?
TWO: You can re-read it yourself and edit it leaving your kind readers with version 2 while you work on version 3.
THREE: You can hang your boots, hat, belt and underpants on a tree and let it stew!
You’ve worked hard, you’ve got the book the best you can at this point. Doing any more work on it is pointless because you’re too close. All you see are the bits you like, not the overall story – warts, old bubblegum and all.
So let it go and let it stew, because when you hand your work over to someone else to review, things happen…
ONE: Your perspective changes. When you get your book back, you’ll see your characters and their stories differently. You’ll notice more.
TWO: Different strengths and weakness in your story will show themselves because you’ll have stopped focusing on the bits you like most.
THREE: You’ll be more objective. Once you’ve had a good break from it, faults in the writing won’t seem so personal. The distance will have allowed you to grow a bit of skin.
Bottom line, hand your book over and ignore it. Walk away, don’t look at it, go on holiday, write short stories, live outside your writing.
Like any great stew, a book looks, tastes and smells better after it’s sat around for a while.
Have fun today