Friday, March 2, 2012

Opening the Vault

Creak! *blows off dust*

I just cracked open the file for a novel I have thought about a lot but barely looked at since the last major revision last March.

It's DEADWOOD, the MG contemporary fantasy that will be published by Pugalicious Press, and I'm working through my editorial letter. I followed the usual advice not to revise while submitting, but now it's been a long time. What plot holes and clunky phrases were inserted over the past year? I'm a little frightened.

I'm not a patient person, so I don't usually let manuscripts rest like this. I write, then revise right away, and revise again. But I do love revising, so I have a couple manuscripts that aren't quite there yet that might make their way out of the vault to be revised after DEADWOOD.

Some of my writing friends, including my brilliant Operation Awesome blogmates, have had tremendous success writing and rewriting favorite old manuscripts, or even picking on the bones of old ones to come up with a new one. A lot of advice I've seen goes against revisiting or focusing too much on old manuscripts in favor of new ones, but different things work for different writers.

What's the longest you've ever let a manuscript rest between revisions? Do you have anything in your trunk that you plan to revive someday, or do you move on right away?


  1. Good for you, Kelly! I also love to revise. Last year, I picked up a novel I wrote 4 years ago. I took a break from writing to have kids, and when I got back into it, I latched onto The Dreaming and decided it still had value. A major rewrite later, I've gotten good feedback. I have a few last things to fix, and I hope to start querying it next month.

    Good luck with your resurrected pieces ;)

    Becca @ The Bookshelf Muse

  2. Good question. I have just started the first revision of the sequel to my middle grade novel The Rock of Ivanore, which hits the shelves in May. I wrote it (the sequel) in 2006-07. You should see the layer of dust on the manuscript. Ah-choo! Laurisa @ A Thousand Wrongs

  3. Glad to know I'm not alone, Becca and Laurisa! One of my books that I want to dust off I began in 2007 and finished in 2010 -- and there was an awfully dusty period in the middle while I had an infant. Laurisa gives me hope...

  4. Kelly, I've done this twice. The first manuscript sat in a box (hardcopy) for nearly five years. So, I not only had to revise, but retype the whole thing. The second one sat at 28 pages for nearly five years. I opened the file one day and finished the first draft in about five months.

    That first manuscript, I self-published. And it has "grown up" to be required reading at several local middle schools. That second manuscript has gotten me a lot of agent attention (no agent, but plenty of attention) and it won the WriteOnCon contest last fall.

    So you really never know what treasures are hiding in your attic. As a matter of fact, that first manuscript did actually sit in my attic for a while.

  5. Same here. The first novel I ever wrote has been permanently put to rest, but there's another one that I can't seem to let go of. It got me an agent, but not a publisher. I've put it aside many times to work on new projects, but it just continues to speak to me.

  6. I've left things for over a year. For short stories I have some that I haven't looked at for over two years.

  7. I've cracked the vault on an old favorite of mine that I wasn't quite ready to write before.

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