Thursday, March 17, 2011

Brain Fatigue and Maturing Your Manuscript

I really hate brain fatigue.  The kind that prevents you from seeing mistakes.  When you work on a manuscript day in and day out, you are bound to get it.  Here are the top three annoying mistakes I often make and then catch only after I've had a rest from a manuscript:

--I use the same words, especially verbs and adjectives, over and over, within a short space of one another.   Don't know why, just happens.  Seems like it happens more with the more unusual words--like my brain thinks they are clever and wants to keep using them.

--I lose my ear for good dialogue.  Even if I think it's good at the time, it doesn't sound so good later.

--I sacrifice emotional depth to plot.  I think it's all I can do to get the plot down the first couple of go-rounds.   Have to really think and make connections and layer in emotional conflict as time goes on.

These are all reasons why writing is not a solitary profession after all.  I used to think it was.  But connections are made and ideas are grown when work is shared...not to mention, mistakes are fixed!

I entered my newest manuscript into the Golden Heart last fall, but it has "ripened" and changed a lot since then.  Seems like my writing needs this time to be re-thought out and given depth through draft after draft.

I wonder, with experience, do you make less of these errors?  Do you "get it" quicker?


  1. You are not alone! "Favorite word fever" happens to me every 10 pages or so (as you know).

    I looked at the date I sent off my GH entry and sighed. I've had 2 full versions since then. On the other hand. Proof of progress is satisfying, isn't it?

  2. Hi Wendy,
    Favorite Word Fever--I love it! The disease has a name! (What's the cure?!) (Hopefully not waiting a year between drafts to catch the mistakes!)
    Yep, numerous drafts after I sent to the GH. Well, I guess I can use that to rationalize when I don't final :). "But it's just so much better now..."