Wednesday, 2 September 2009

When it's good to wait.

I never would have thought a year ago I'd say this. Or even six months ago.

It is good to wait with a recently finished MS.

I came to this (probably known by everybody else but me) information when I opened up the manuscript doc for The Forester's Son, a book I've talked about on this blog many times, bemoaned many times and then just flat out whinged about many times. I finally finished it and promtly had the spark that was the idea of PoloGRRL, so I put it aside.

It wasn't out of mind, though. Jakob would sail through my subsconscious here and there, faint threads would tie themselves around my brain, teasing and tantalizing.

So now it was time. I cracked the MS...and was promptly surprised. This book could be good; better than I imagined. But if I would have started editing it exactly after I finished it would not have been. The time was what I needed to get the vein of the story right.

Neil Gaiman said something about The Graveyard Book that really struck a chord with me. He said, (paraphrased of course) "I couldn't have written this book 13 years ago. I had to be good enough to write it."

I feel that way about FS. But I had to be good enough to edit it.

And recognise when it should be edited, not when I wanted it to be.

And you? Do you wait? Or dive right in?


Heidi Willis said...

What a great quote by Neil! And great application by you!

I'm in full agreement. Waiting gives great perspective, and everything you write gives you more experience and polish.

I have a feeling I'll always look back at what I've written in the past with a bit of awe that I did it, and a bit of embarrassment that I could do it so much better now.

Patti said...

I used to read all the time that you should put away your work and wait for a month. Me, being impatient, disregarded that advice. Now I totally believe in it. A) you're not so attached and B) you can see things good and bad more clearly.

marsh to the fore said...

Oh yes, no question that waiting has a real benefit. And that you have to wait with a story sometimes until you're good enough to write it.

I'm dealing with that very thing now and may decide I have to wait. I'm resurrecting a story I started over twenty years ago. Hey, that's long enough!