First draft writing can be a long agony. Once you reach that tender, soul-satisfying conclusion, wipe away a tear, and type The End, you take a deep sigh, certain the story is right. You ask, “Now what?”
The temptation is to either a) send it off now because, of course, it is perfect OR b) rush forward to polish it and then send it off. Both are a bad idea. Treat it like you would one of your children. It will grow to maturity better that way.
- Let it rest. Don’t be a helicopter parent, hovering and leaping in with tweaks and fixes right away.
- Ask someone—or several someones—to read it. It takes a village to rear a book. Choose beta readers you trust to treat your baby gently, but still honestly tell you how it can be made better.
- Give yourself perspective. When you are too close to anything, even your children, you don’t see them clearly. You see too much of yourself reflected back. Read other writers for a while. Use the time to finish your research or write something different.
- Look at it objectively with clear eyes. Then and only then reread your work and begin to rewrite.
The Reluctant Wife has come home from the beta readers. Today I plan to begin #4 again. There is work to do before it’s ready for prime time. But first, coffee.