Let your first draft rest (minimum: six weeks).

Discussion in 'On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft' started by FindingGila, Sep 4, 2014.

  1. FindingGila

    FindingGila Member

    In On Writing, Stephen King recommends that once one finishes their first draft (of a novel), they should immediately put it away (let it rest) for a minimum of six weeks.

    And while the first draft is resting away, one could (or should) start a new project (something entirely different and/or shorter) or get back to one's everyday life again.

    The route I have taken (with the first draft of my novella complete), is to almost immediately embark on writing a totally different genre short story (something in the length of four to six thousand words).

    I'm crafting it at one thousands words per day, and should be done shortly (obviously).

    My question is, how long should I put it (the short story) away to rest, before rewriting and revising it? Six weeks too? Or for shorter works, do you all think Stephen King would recommend a shorter time frame?

    I'm totally new at this craft, so any and all input is much appreciated.
  2. Moderator

    Moderator Ms. Mod Administrator

    Welcome to the Board! As you write and rewrite more you'll find your own rhythm for what works best for you as what works for Steve may not be the same. It may have as much to do with the story material as the length, i.e. a lighter theme wouldn't require as much distance but in general he would probably recommend less time for a short story.
  3. Spideyman

    Spideyman Uber Member

  4. mustangclaire

    mustangclaire There's petrol runnin' through my veins.

    Welcome to the Board. I think in my humble, non writer-ish way, do what is right, and works, for you, and only you.
  5. king family fan

    king family fan Prolific member

  6. kingzeppelin

    kingzeppelin Member who probably should be COMMITTED!


    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

  8. Mr Nobody

    Mr Nobody Well-Known Member

    This. (And welcome, btw.)
    As a guide to the craft, there's none better (IMO) than On Writing...but it is just a guide, and as Ms Mod also said, what works for SK might not work half as well for you.
    The best answer I can give is to play it by ear, every time.
    (And either befriend or find a good editor for when you've got a draft you're happy with; you'll never catch everything yourself.)
    skimom2, GNTLGNT, blunthead and 2 others like this.
  9. VultureLvr45

    VultureLvr45 Well-Known Member

    He He He, as opposed to here? :snicker: images-101.jpeg
    GNTLGNT and blunthead like this.
  10. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    And then make yourself at home.
    GNTLGNT likes this.
  11. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the SKMB!
    GNTLGNT likes this.

    GNTLGNT The idiot is IN

    ...I never like letting my draft rest...it just gets warm & flat...
    blunthead likes this.
  13. blunthead

    blunthead Well-Known Member

    ...a rested draft dispels no gas...
    GNTLGNT likes this.
  14. Bryan James

    Bryan James Well-Known Member


    It's gonna be different for everyone.

    When I finish an adequate-but-crapfeely project I can start a new (or work on an existing) thing immediately.

    When I finalize something that I think is great, I get a little postwritum depression and need to take some time off.

    It is generally good to shelf early drafts of larger works so you can "read with fresh eyes." If it goes stale on you, it's because it wasn't a great idea in the first place.
    GNTLGNT likes this.
  15. skimom2

    skimom2 Just moseyin' through...

    GNTLGNT likes this.
  16. Bryan James

    Bryan James Well-Known Member

    Life is nothing but a chain of endful improvisations.

    Every piece of art is not the same.

    Like children, they demand different attention.
    GNTLGNT and Mr Nobody like this.
  17. Mr Nobody

    Mr Nobody Well-Known Member

    Neesy and GNTLGNT like this.

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