Sometimes all it takes is a little distance.
Last year I participated in the National Book Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) competition for the first time. I’ve known a couple writer friends who have participated in this grueling 30-day challenge/competition and although I have shied away from it in the past, I thought last year I would participate.
I had recently finished and self-published two books, When A Hard Rain Falls and I’ll Be Home for Christmas, so I had a clean slate as it were to try my hand at this competition. I had this one idea in mind, which I thought would be perfect for the competition, but at the last minute I changed my mind and started on Murder in the Moonlight instead. Murder in the Moonlight has been on the back burner for about three years and I thought now as good a time as any to write it (I had a fairly extensive outline for it).
On November 1, 2013 I started and for the next 30 days I wrote feverishly to finish (I did with a few days to spare). The manuscript was a good first draft, but there were a lot of holes in the story. I didn’t think it was complete and it didn’t read right. And to be honest, I didn’t like it. Instead of rewriting it, I shelved it and continued another project, The Panama Affair, which I recently finished.
Not long after I finished my recent book, I happened by chance one day to open the file for Murder in the Moonlight, and I started reading it. This was the first time since last year that I looked at the manuscript. It read a lot differently than it did a year ago. In fact, I was surprised at what I had written.
Sometimes you need to look at a story, paper, or a novel with a fresh pair of eyes and perspective. Sometimes a writer needs some distance for a piece of writing to simmer and percolate.
Guess what I am working on next?