Friday, April 16, 2010

Move On or Edit?

by G.Parker

Okay -- you've finally gotten to the last page of your book. You've edited for a while, you've handed it out to critique groups and yet -- you know it's not quite there. The problem is, you have another story that's driving you crazy because it hasn't been written down. So the question comes to you: Move on to the new story or wait until the current one has been fully edited?

That's the question that plagues me every day. I have boxes of manuscripts that have gone through my critique group, but I haven't done anything with them because I also have several more that have never been read by anyone else. I feel an urgency right now to focus on a particular work because it's what I wrote for NaNoWriMo and I have until June to get it edited, formatted correctly and sent in for my free proof copy. However -- I just finished having my group go through a story and all the editing suggestions are still fresh. UGH!

In a perfect world, I figure I would be writing full time. I would write on new stuff in the morning, and edit all afternoon. I have even tried that during the summer when I'm not working (since my job revolves around the school year)but it didn't work. I have children and they kind of like food and clean clothes and attention... So I know it's not going to work.

Does that mean I work on stuff that I think has more potential than others? Is my primary goal just to publish or to get better at my craft? It's a conundrum that I think many writers suffer from, or maybe it's just me and I'm too easily distracted by the new story. However, I don't think that's quite it. There are several authors that seem to publish a new work every year. Does that mean they work like madmen during the three months (or so) it takes to finish the rough draft and then the next three months while they edit to make a deadline? What about life? Family? Chocolate?

Or, perhaps they are constantly working on new material while finishing/editing the current item. I don't know, and I don't have time to take a poll of the writers I know personally. So, you're just going to get my point of view.

Whatever the case, I'm going to start on the new story because there is a deadline in the future for it. Then, I guess I might have to focus on something that's been through the critique group, because the boxes are starting to pile up...


L.T. Elliot said...

That's wonderful that you have boxes of books that have been through the ringer! You should start submitting them!

Krista said...

I've been struggling with this (though my "box" is actually a "handful") and I am finding myself working on what I think the editors will want to see next, while I let the new idea ruminate because it's not quite ripe enough to flow through my fingers yet. I'm making notes, though. I can't wait until the juices start flowing, though... I love to write!

Anonymous said...

I think having boxes piled up is very good!

I just recently read Stephen King, On Writing, and he advises to leave a manuscript for six weeks before opening the door again and editing.

Have fun writing your new story. The others time will come, I'm sure!

Tristi Pinkston said...

Work on whatever's talking to you at the moment, Gaynell. That's where your heart is and where your best writing will come.

Keith Fisher said...

I agree with L.T. You should send them to somebody. It will give you something to do while you write the next masterpiece.