marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,


The approaching conclusion of NaNoWriMo inspires philosophical musings about the backburner.

Once or twice, I've gone back and made some immediate revisions after finishing a draft.  Then, frequently, I have some Bright Ideas about what I ought to have done shortly after writing a scene -- bed is a good place to have them -- and gone back while still in first draft, so it's part and parcel of that.

Even when I've done that, I've backburnered the story as soon as it was done.  While there's no writing rule that applies to everyone, this is the one for which I've heard the fewest exceptions.  Let it sit there.  It will cool off, and you will be able to read what you wrote and not what you, in the throes of composition, thought you wrote.  Or possibly the Bad Writings gremlins will come and deface it, but heck, better there than in the envelope as you send it off to the editor.

And of course, kept on writing.  Besides cooling off, there is nothing like practice for advancing your writerly skills.  Some works I have managed to improve because I had mastered the necessary skills on other works.

That's where the real trick of backburnering comes in.  You have to remember to circle back to the works, especially if you do a major overhaul and push it back onto the burner for another session of cooling.  It's so very easy to go on and on and on to new works and never finish.  You don't want to send it out when you could revise more flaws out and more virtues in, but you don't want to fiddle with it forever.


Life is full of trade-offs.  So is writing.
Tags: grumbles, revision, switching stories, writing habits

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