Monday, 28 September 2015
The bottom drawer theory
Mr Schulz, I love your little cartoon, but I can't just let it sit here without some explanation.
As writers we all experience this at some point in our lives. We think our just-completed manuscripts are so damn good (we either think that, or we think they are just awful). That is why the bottom drawer theory is such a good idea. When you have typed The End or Manuscript Ends on the last page, don't immediately start typing up letters to agents, or composing queries to publishers in your head. Put the manuscript away, preferably for quite some time. (This is easy to say, I know, but very difficult to do. I, myself, have never completely managed it.) Put it away and do something else. Start a new story, if you like. Write some short stories. Read that new release you've been busting to get to. Go walk in the park. Anything. But do not go near your manuscript.
After sufficient time has elapsed - like a month or two - open it up and read it again. You'll be surprised at what you find!
(Mostly, the writers who thought their manuscripts were so damn good will be cringing and saying, Seriously, did I write this garbage?! While the ones who thought their work was just awful will be saying, Hmn, this is not too bad. There are some moments of brilliance here.)