Let Her Sit

It was late in 2010 and I had just sort of completed my first manuscript. I knew it was a mess and I couldn’t wait to jump in and fix the plotting, tense, voice, etc. My regular job pulled me away that weekend to Riverton, Wyoming for a class. When I came home a few days later, I brought back more than myself.

4Yes, after saying no more dogs, how could I resist? She was born to a mama who was one day from getting put down in the shelter. Fortunately, she gave birth to a litter stopping her schedule demise the next day. All pups and mom were adopted.

3Puppies have a short attention span. You have to watch them all the time. When I had an hour to write, she was ready to play. It was frustrating and also helped my story get better. Why? Because I had to let my story sit for long periods of time. I had become too attached to the words and could not look at them with a critical eye. This pulled me away for days, sometimes weeks and when I came back the story had some distance and I could do a much better job of rewriting.

Now that my little friend is a full grown adult, I still build in a week’s rest between drafts. You can do the same and you don’t even have to adopt a puppy to make it happen. Get a pair of fresh eyes yourself by detaching from the words you know too well. Doing so will allow your baby manuscript to grow up ready to face the world.

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About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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One Response to Let Her Sit

  1. Jodi says:

    She’s darling! Getting that perspective between drafts and even writing and editing sessions is so important. I have a built in system as well, my toddler physically pulls me away from my computer if I’ve been there too long (like 5 minutes…) On a related note – school started today for my oldest!

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