Managing May--late! I should take my own advice . . .
Ever heard of Stockholm Syndrome--that unusual condition when hostages feel empathy and positive feelings for their captors? It's a fascinating subject, but did you know there's a type of syndrome similar to Stockholm that confines writers? That's where Stuck-On Syndrome comes in (a made-up word, I know), when a writer is so enamored by their precious MS that they never stop tinkering with it. Do that long enough and you'll eventually bury yourself in a pile of reprints.
Such was the case with my first novel, going through nine drafts before I finally shelved it and moved on to something else. Instead of writing three novels in that space of three years, I wrote only one, and it's still inadequate. If anything, all those redrafts may be responsible for its current incoherency.
It don't really help when your story is a beast, either.
Yep. Classic Stockholm Syndrome . . .
How do we avoid this? For me, it's a three step process. First, I write the rough draft (and have my trusted alpha readers read along, chapter by chapter). Second, I write the 1st draft (which will go out to beta readers when the full MS is done). Third, I write the second draft (which is what I'll use to seek representation/publication). After that, the decision is up to you. I would go ahead and start work on a new MS as I wait for query responses.
This is not the rule, just my thoughts on the matter. There's nothing wrong about being in love with our creations--it's when we bow to the dictates of our perfectionism that we dig ourselves a hole. There comes a time when you must let go, before your MS becomes a hindrance and stunts your growth as a writer.
Have you been smitten by Stuck-On Syndrome? How do you prevent or pull yourself out of its simmering crater?
I'm David, and we're seeing Panda 2 this weekend!