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.


About Greg Pattridge

Climbing another mountain...writing middle grade novels.
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1 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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