1. mbinks89
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    mbinks89 Active Member

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    How long should I let my novel sit before editing?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mbinks89, Jan 17, 2013.

    As my novel's end draws nearer and nearer, I was wondering, since this is my first time writing a novel, how long should I leave my novel be before I come back and edit it? I heard that it's ideal to not edit right away, to create distance between you and the work. Any ideas?
     
  2. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Come back to your novel when you're ready to. There isn't a rule about this. It depends on the writer. Whenever you feel you have sufficient distance, sufficient perspective, then that's the time. Just do whatever it takes to make your novel better.
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    What minstrel said.

    I usually give it several weeks.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Return to it when you can see the cracks that need spackling.
     
  5. ulster
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    ulster Member

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    Weeks?!? I do agree that each writer is different, but I give it several days depending on the feedback from friends/family.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    days or weeks... whatever works best for you...
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    If you can practically recite the thing in your sleep, it's probably too soon. You won't spot the
    mistakes.
     
  8. TimHarris
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    TimHarris Senior Member

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    Long enough that you become detached from the story, and are able to view it as the work of somebody else. Stephen King recommends six weeks in his book On Writing
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Six weeks may work for Stephen King, but it's not guaranteed to work for others. Just wait until you have enough perspective. The amount of time may depend on how much experience you have. A beginner may need more time, whereas a highly experienced writer may need less.

    The OP is inexperienced. He probably shouldn't take Stephen King's word as gospel.
     
  10. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In my opinion, no one should. I wince when someone sings the praises of On Writing, although it's okay if takes as one writer's perspective rather than as a How-To guide.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ditto that!
     
  12. cazann34
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    cazann34 Active Member

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    I've heard its 6 weeks but I think the main reason to leave your work before editing it, is to distance yourself from it, allowing you to see it from a distance (almost as if it is someone else's work) so you are able to see what needs changing. I've also read that you should only focus on one aspect of editing at any one time: spelling and grammar, dialogue, pace, plot etc.
     
  13. Mikewritesfic
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    Mikewritesfic Senior Member

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    The important thing is to distance yourself from your work. However long that takes is up to you to decide. When you return to it though, you should be able to view it objectively. Good luck.
     

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