annastan (annastan) wrote,

Regaining Perspective on Your WIP

It can be hard to have any perspective on your WIP after you've been working on it for a while. If you're like me, you're either in love with every word or you start to suspect that it's all terrible. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. So how do you get some perspective on your writing?

1. Step away. If you have the luxury of time, it's often eye-opening if you take a break from your WIP and come back to it refreshed. Sometimes even just a day might help. Other times, you might need months before you have enough distance to be able to look at it objectively.

2. Focus in. If you keep reading your manuscript over and over, you'll just get that same vague feeling about it every time. That's why it's important, especially when you've lost perspective on it, to look at specifics instead. For example, try focusing in on a specific scene and looking at it in pieces. Is there enough of a story arc? Is the dialogue flowing smoothly? Is there enough tension?

3. Chart it out. I use this technique a lot. I start a spreadsheet and go through the scenes in my WIP, one by one, listing what we learn from each one, how they advance the character's journey, etc. By breaking the entire manuscript down into a series of lists, I can look at the project in a new way and locate trouble spots.

4. Get off the page. Sometimes the best thing you can do is put your manuscript aside and just start free-writing. Do a journal entry from your character's perspective or have two minor characters talk about the story's main conflict. You never know what you might learn and it might help jump-start the creative process.

5. Ask for help. Getting someone else's input can help give you a fresh perspective on your WIP. If you're on a deadline, you might not have time to have someone read the whole thing, but even getting feedback on the first chapter might give you enough to go on. Make sure that your reader is someone whose opinion you trust and who can give you the type of feedback that's helpful to you.

Those are my strategies for regaining some perspective on my writing. Anyone have any others?

Tags: craft, revision, wip
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