1. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    "cooling off" period for a first draft novel

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bruce, Mar 26, 2010.

    My first draft novel (90,000 words) is complete after six months of hard work. :D

    I've received this advice from another writer.
    This is the "cooling off" period and I understand its purpose. My question is--how long is your "cooling off" period? Or, you don't let it cool off at all?

    I'm very eager to get on with the revision. :D
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It depends on the person. Wait long enough so you can look at the writing dispassionately, and carve it up without your heart racing.
     
  3. Dr. Manhattan
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    Dr. Manhattan New Member

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    I definitely have to cool off. I don't set a timer or anything, though. I usually write and rewrite something and come back to it and it's almost like reading something by somebody else - a huge advantage for a writer who wants to improve. Imagining reading somebody else's work and then being able to change whatever you want. The downside, though, is that often I reread something after a cool-down period and realize that, frankly, it wasn't that good, making my excitement at the time of finishing it a big tease.
     
  4. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Go and write something else while you are waiting for it to cool. I can write something and at the time think it's the best thing I've ever done, but when I look at it six months later, I'm embarrassed at all the glaringly obvious mistakes that need cutting or completely rewriting. And I'm pretty sure that if I go back in a few weeks, I'll see a lot more needs editing.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't have any set 'cooling off' period... sometimes i don't have any at all... i'm always working on multiple writing projects, so can switch to something else, if a break from one is needed...
     
  6. OPTiiMUM
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    OPTiiMUM Member

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    It all depends on the person and the situation.

    Personally, I might leave it for a week or two, but no more than that. That's because I like to finish it up when the story is still stuck in my head. However, on the re-read after that time period, I set aside some space in a notebook and read it from a reader's perspective, noting any plot holes, grammar/vocabulary mistakes, problems with sentence construction, and anything else that I believe can make my writing flow at a level that i'm happy with.
     
  7. bruce
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    bruce Active Member

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    Many thanks to all for replying. I'll be starting the revision on April 1, 2010 and I'm determined to get it ready for my agent by June 30, 2010.

    Now going back to lurking mode for the next three months. :)
     
  8. CalliopeCalls
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    CalliopeCalls New Member

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    For me, even in very short works of fiction or poetry, I find it's usually best if I leave it a couple of months - any longer than that and I'm out of the mindset, but any shorter and I'm still so emotionally invested in every word I've written that changing anything feels like pulling my own teeth. However, I'm not a novel writer - I'm not really familiar with that process yet. And who knows how long you'll need to get just the right distance from your text. I wish you luck though! And I've found that what helps me, if I can't be completely objective about a passage enough to change it, is to rewrite it without referencing my original, and then splice what I like about the two versions later. Hope that helps!
     
  9. Sillraaia
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    Sillraaia Senior Member

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    I got lucky. When i finished my novel I couldn't stand to look at it again for about 3 months. Just opening the file, I would see a few words, and they repulsed me. Severely. I got over it, and am more objective now than I was then, so it all worked out. I actually did pretty well. I don't know why I was so repulsed for that long.
     
  10. Erskine
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    Erskine New Member

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    My cooling off period varies on the piece. I have generally found that the longer it is, the more time I give myself before beginning the editing process. Personally, I have noticed that when I ignore the cooling off period, the final product usually suffers.
     

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