So I finally finished the second draft of my work in progress. Yay. I'm having three people whose opinions I trust read it and give me feedback, one of which has already finished (!!), so I expect I'll get comments back pretty quickly.

How long do you guys like to let a manuscript "rest" before going back to it? A week? A month? Or do you just wait until you feel like it's time? I've got another book idea brewing that I could start on, or just take a break for a while. I'm curious what other writers do.



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I have a sliding scale. The longer I had to grapple with the draft, the longer I have to let it rest before I can go back and take a fresh look. How do I know when it's time? It's just a feeling that I can now stand to look at it again.


In his book on writing Stephen King recommended six weeks.

No time at all.  But then I do multiple drafts of chapters as I go along.

Hi minervaK


I thinks it's such a crucial phase of the writing process. The ideal would be at least 4/4 weeks to 'rest' the ms. Also I find it helpful when giving work to people to read, to be specific about what you want them to do - nothing worse than giving people work to read to see if it makes sense, the characters hang together, the plot works - and they come back with punctuation suggestions. Also, reading the work aloud, or hacing someone read it aloud to you exposes any potential glitches and gaffs.


Good luck with the story.



Nick -- I did give my readers a list of specific questions, and I think this is good advice. I read a friend's novel a few months back and it was a bit difficult to give her a useful crit on it because I wasn't sure what kind of feedback she wanted. I guess having that experience is what made me ask for specifics. Thanks -- MK
Four to six weeks sounds about right. Long enough for it to seem fresh when you read it, but not so long it feels foreign to you.

I've got a rule of thumb about this. When I can't remember how the fourth chapter starts, I can revisit it for another look.


Of course, it's different for everyone. You have to know what you've forgotten, if that makes any sense.

I like it!
I haven't looked at my first one since last year in November?  But I realize anyone on deadline has no such luxury, right?  I just finished my second novel a couple of weeks ago, and I'm ready to go revise it.  Seems like it doesn't hurt my head as much now as that first one.  The more experience I pick up as a writer the less time I need to let my work rest?  
Hi Mary, certaibnly go along with that. I think I'd add confidence to experience - definitely felt more like I knew what I was doing/what I wanted the second time around. And it paid off. I do like deadlines though - that extra motivation seems to do the trick.

Hi MK, I normally try to give it a month before I pick up the MS and read it.  The time allows objectivity.

At that point, I try to simply read it as if I pulled it from a store shelf so that I can an overall feel.  It's the next few times through I rip it :) lol


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