Some Great Advice from Mary Deal: Let It Sit

Let it Sit


Mary Deal

Authors are constantly reminded that once a story is finished to leave it sit. This can happen before or after the final polish. Many authors believe that once they’ve polished the story to the best of their ability, it’s ready to be published. However, these authors are missing one of the most valuable periods of time to make their manuscript the best that it can be. The length of time to let it sit is at the discretion of the author.

What happens during the rest period is that when you let go of the care of getting it written, your muse is free to think of plot points or scenes you could have made better. When this happens you are usually able to decipher which may be the weak points or other ho-hum sections in the story. When my muse tells me which areas could be made stronger, she has also planted in my mind the ways to make it better.

~ Sometimes I believe I’ve written an incredible scene, only to realize that changing this or that little detail or descriptive phrase would make it much more exciting.

~ Sometimes flawed areas that I’ve overlooked come to mind.

Another great example of waiting is when you submit a short story, or even a lengthy manuscript that gets rejected. If you haven’t received any comments from the editor – and you usually won’t –  you begin to wonder what could be flawed in the piece. You may try to correct certain areas, certain scenes, and then suddenly you get accepted. What happened here is that you were forced into a waiting period to further improve your manuscript.

~ Why not allow yourself the waiting period before getting those rejections?

Help like this can only come when you leave your manuscript sit a while. Once you get into the habit of doing this, you’ll know when the story is truly ready for your audience.

Please visit Mary Deal’s website for more wonderful articles like this one: Write Any Genre.

About Mike Angley

Mike Angley is the award-winning author of the Child Finder Trilogy. He retired as a Colonel from the Air Force in 2007 following a 25-year career as a Special Agent with the Office of Special Investigations (OSI). He held 13 different assignments throughout the world, among which were five tours as a Commander of various units, to include two Air Force Squadrons and a Wing. He is a seasoned criminal investigator and a counterintelligence and counterterrorism specialist. In his last assignment, he was Commander of OSI Region 8 with responsibility for all of Air Force Space Command. He’s fond of saying, “If it entered or exited Earth’s atmosphere, I had a dog in the fight!”
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