When do you polish your manuscript?

In the supermarket, looking for furniture polish, I followed the POLISH signs to Central European food. This actually happened once. That’s why I don’t think anything should be written in all capital letters. However, this is not the only thing that I look for when I hone my manuscripts.

I’ve touched on this before, but I will say it again: in order to keep myself motivated, I try to write well the whole time. I don’t just block out a scene – that’s what the plan is for – I write it. I want it to be as close to the finished product as it can be right from the very start. Then, when I read back what I wrote during the last session, I can be motivated to write well again.

I live in perpetual fear of falling out of love with my WIP and I will avoid this stale sense of wasted time at all costs.

I think that a piece of writing is so much more than what happens in it. The words, nuances, tone, cadences that the writer chooses provide the textures, tastes and feelings that will be recreated in the head of the reader. This telepathy is the joy of reading. And that is some of the joy I hope to capture every time I write.

My perfectionist attitude as I write doesn’t absolve me from needing to edit and improve after writing. I do this as well. Later.

When I rewrite and edit, I have to be clear what I am doing and why. I do this scene-by-scene. Is this interaction the funniest it can be? Does this show obviously enough what D feels about B? Should it be more subtle that R is the villain of the piece?

As with anything, once you know what you want to achieve from a scene, it is much easier to accomplish.


4 thoughts on “When do you polish your manuscript?

  1. I have a similar process. I tend to be a slow writer because I can’t very often move on unless I’m somewhat happy with what I’m writing.
    That being said I’ve made some progress with this in the last little while and learned to be able to just leave myself notes for later instead of spending half an hour on a single paragraph. Which has sped up my output somewhat.

    With my novel WIP i am restraining myself from going back over what i have already written until i have finished the first draft, because i have gotten stuck in a feedback loop of rewriting and not writing new stuff for it in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s a big debate on what’s best for writers writing their first draft: writing “shitty” first drafts just to get something down in its entirety, or taking your time and getting it somewhat right the first time around, with the risk of never getting it done. I tend to be in the first category, otherwise I’d get stuck in a quagmire of perfectionism and never get it done. But then it’s a lot of work waiting for me when it’s time to revise, and that can stop me in my tracks, too. No matter how you look at it, it’s work, of course, and you have to just keep plugging away in whatever way works best for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I’d lose heart if I did a “shitty” first draft. I’d be trapped in my library by abandoned novels. I find reading back what I wrote in the last session before moving on actually helps with consistency of voice.

      Liked by 1 person

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