On the Virtues of Time and Distance

I’m revising my first novel again. Golly, did I really think it was done? How did I miss that awkward phrase, the passive voice and those run-on sentences? I’d only gone through it about a million times.

It has been a while since I looked at this novel closely. And in the intervening months, I’ve attended several conferences, had a private critique session with an editor, completed a second novel and worked deep into a third.

Heck, I’d almost forgotten what the first novel was all about.

Precisely!

I came back to my first novel with as fresh a pair of eyes as I’m likely to have. Add to that perspective, a review of the comments from my critique group (yep, better hang on to those even after you think you’ve finished with them), advice from the agent who critiqued the first ten pages of the novel, and the bits and pieces of wisdom from the presentations, panels and craft-building sessions at the conferences. I’m astonished at what I didn’t see before.

Which is exactly what time and distance do.

So, how do you space out your revisions? Are you ever done? Perhaps the real question is not ‘am I done’ but ‘is it done enough’?

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