I Need Direction From The Pros

I have been wrestling with what to do. As you know, I have been taking a break from writing and editing since my major overtime at work in August. I am ready to jump into something, but am not sure what.

My dad has my MS and has edited the first 5 chapters. He had to take a break because he got a pressing (and paying) job that had to be done. I thought I should just go ahead and begin the edits, but then dad said he is almost ready to get back to mine and it got me thinking. What if he gets midway and there are so many problems that I have to redo the beginning?

Should I wait until all the edits are finished before I edit?

I thought maybe it would be best to flesh out some of my other ideas and begin another project, but I don’t know if that is best. What is best? Does it matter? Is it all about what is good for me?

What do you writers out there do? Do you edit as you gets edits back? Have you ever experienced editing through a MS only to find that your crits found some problems that required you to redo the whole first half of your MS? Or do you set it aside for awhile? I’m afraid I might forget my story! Does that ever happen? Do you ever lost interest in your story after you start a new one?

Questions, questions….does anyone have any answers?

16 responses to “I Need Direction From The Pros”

  1. πŸ™‚ I have wondered this myself many times… when is the right time to start those edits??? When it feels right. That's my answer. If it feels right to start looking at what your dad has already done, go ahead, if it feels like walking a turtle up hill then give maybe it isn't the right time. Breaks are good things.
    And yeah, when I started writing my second book I totally dumped the first. 'Summer love,' I told it, 'I am over you now.' But, surprisingly, when I started reworking the book after 'fresh eyes' had looked at it, I found new inspiration. The fresh eyes weren't mine either. I have a great mentor who took that baby apart, and I will forever be grateful πŸ™‚


  2. The distance from our stories is often a good thing. Some “experts” even suggest setting it aside for a months and then coming back at it with fresh eyes. So, I don't think it would be a bad thing to dive into the next book. We grow so much from writing each new book!


  3. I did some editing while my sister was editing and it did get a bit confusing.

    I think you should hold off till he's done and follow Jody's advice. New books are fun….when you have a good idea!


  4. I am no expert, but I think you'd do better to wait on your dad's changes, then step into the water a little at a time with edits, but don't drown in pity like I did when I got my ms. back and it needed a ton of changes. Take a deep breath, pray for help from above, and take one line, one page at a time.

    While you're waiting for Dad to finish, go with a new story to keep the creative juices flowing. You won't forget your first one! How can a mother forget her firstborn?


  5. It is sooo hard for me to turn off my internal editor. I've been told by numerous authors to keep writing until you get solid feedback. If you're unsure about continuing with current WIP, then maybe by moving on to work on another ms…you can come back to edits with clarity. Good luck!!


  6. I kind of edit as I go along, then I leave it for a while. Then I read through and hyper-edit. Only then will I give it to anyone else to critique.


  7. I have been thinking quite a lot about this dilemma after we talked at church. I think that waiting until your dad/editor can read the entire MS is a great idea. To me it is like seeing only a portion of a painting as it is crafted. How odd to critique the “upper right corner” or just the “background landscape” before seeing how all of the elements fit together in the full picture.
    Haven't you come across earlier things you have written and paused to read them again with new eyes? You can probably spot problems areas right away that you could not see at the time because of your emotional investment. I feel that is what it will be like when you allow your “newborn” to rest, it will be ready to “grow up” when you return.


  8. Hi Sherrinda –

    I make changes as I get the edits back.

    If you have other projects, it might be a nice change of pace to work on them. You'll be able to return to the first manuscript refreshed.

    Susan πŸ™‚

    Susan πŸ™‚


  9. Sherrinda, I'm with Jody and Jeanette and vote for starting a new story while you wait for your dad to edit the first one. You'll have fun with your new characters, and I have a strong feeling you won't forget those you've already written. They're a part of you now.

    When your dad finishes his work, you can go over his edits with him, learn from his expertise and decide whether to return to that story and revise or to proceed with the new one, bearing in mind all you'll learn as a result of your dad's wise counsel.

    I hope you soon feel refreshed, re-energized and ready to move forward, whatever course of action you choose.


  10. Such great advice! Since you are blessed to have a dad who can edit, I'd wait on him and write something else if you can:)


  11. Tabitha, I like the way you think…”when it feels right”. πŸ™‚ I do worry about not wanting to go back to the first book, but then, like you, I am hoping for new inspiration with fresh eyes!

    Jody, I like to think of each book being another step on the learning ladder. I am thinking all these comments are giving me the peace I need to step away and begin something new! Excitement is in the air.

    Marybeth, I can totally see where the confusion would come in and I certainly don't need any more confusion in my life! πŸ™‚

    Jeanette, I love that! Indeed, how can a mother forget her firstborn? I love looking at it that way…it takes the fear away.

    Chelle, great advice! I think stepping away is really what I need to do. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by!

    Kristen, I probably should have hyper-edited myself before sending my MS in! But…I didn't! 😦

    Ava!!!!! I'm so excited you started a blog and commented on MINE! I'm zipping over to your blog in just a sec!
    I loved your comment. What a beautiful analogy that perfectly spoke to why it would be good for me to wait. Well said!

    Susan, I think if I was getting feedback from a crit group, I might edit as I go, but sending it to dad…well…the edits are major. πŸ™‚ Sigh…it is going to be good for my story, but a huge job!

    Keli, you have so much wisdom and can couch your words in a way that is motivating and encouraging! What a gift! Thank you, my friend!

    Terri, I think you are right! I am having such a peace right now in letting go of my editing and starting something new. Lots of peace. What a great feeling!


  12. It really depends on what you're comfortable with. I edit as I get edits back.
    Then I sit on it for a few weeks and then take a look at the WHOLE thing. Or get a beta reader to do it.
    It might help to do a little at a time so it would feel so daunting a task to you. πŸ™‚


  13. I'm late to the show (why is it I find myself saying that constantly these days?) but I wanted to chime in as I had a similar situation to yours.

    My mother was an English teacher for years and years. She is not your typical “your book will be a bestseller, honey” mom. No. We are talking bleeding pages when she gets done with an edit. (Sigh. :))

    So, I suggest you move onto the next project while you wait for your dad to finish his editing. Then you can look over all the edits and see where you need to prop up the dam first. πŸ™‚

    Glad to hear you are back in the saddle. πŸ™‚


  14. Hi, Sherrinda. I've seen you around, but I don't think I've commenting before. Silly me. πŸ˜‰

    I can really relate to this post, because with my first book I did the same: wrote the story I wanted to tell. This time around (#2) I know it's the story He wants me to tell, and I ask for His help daily. It's incredible to see what we do together.

    Have a great weekend. And congrats on your loss!


  15. Nice to think of each book being another step, you are right! Many peace feeling to you!


  16. I edit my chapters as I go along and then I come back to them again and again. Alot of times though, once I edit it really good, I am content with it and then I continue with the story. I lost interest in my novel that I started in 2006, but am now rewriting. I am also writing another novel along with it. I figure when I lose the zeal for one, then I can work on the other. I don't know if that helped. I hope. :o)


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