Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Time Needed Between Revisions

I’m not a happy camper writer these days.

Ten months ago, I had a nice little writing routine. I had (and still have) two critique groups, both of which met once a month. Back then, the people in Group A were my first alpha readers, often reading my chapters shortly after I wrote them. Group A provided me with valuable insights as to what was working and what wasn’t, and after collecting their comments and suggestions, I’d set the chapter aside to simmer and move on to the next one.

Group B is my next wave of readers. They don’t see a chapter until after I’ve made the revisions from Group A. Since Group B is farther behind in the story, it was usually several months before I needed to make these revisions. This meant I approached the chapter with fresh eyes when the time came to ready it for Group B. And as most of you know, spending time away from your words before revising them is a good thing.

Unfortunately, “months” have now turned to “days.” For a whole slew of reasons (missed crit group meetings, failure to submit chapters when they weren’t ready, differences between submission lengths), Group B has now caught up with Group A. This month, I submitted my latest chapter to Group A on the 8th, received the crits back on the 15th, then rushed to incorporate these changes (some of them significant in scope) before submitting the chapter to Group B less than ten days later. 

Ten days may seem like a long time for some of you fast writers out there, but to me it’s like speed writing—on steroids! Not to mention the fact that I was already so tired of staring at that damn chapter by the time I’d turned it in to Group A, it was a real slog to reopen it in order to do the revisions for Group B.

So what am I going to do next month? I’m going to have Group B critique some other stuff (earlier chapters, other stories) until Group A builds up a good lead on them again. It’s the only way I can climb out of this mess.

Who knows? Maybe this is the incentive I need to write a short story for the IWSG anthology.



  1. There you go! Write a story for the IWSG and unleash it on Group B.
    I kind of operate the same way. My test readers see an early version. (Because if the whole story isn't working, why polish?) Then my critique partners see a more polished version.

  2. Interesting conundrum. This is probably why I only belong to one critique group!

  3. It sounds like you might break the time space continuum with that quandary.

  4. Ah yes, the juggling crit groups thing. First off, good luck. Second, I like your idea of writing a short for IWSG! That would be excellent exposure.

  5. Yeah, maybe you have cabin fever and need some time away from you manuscript. Writing something else could be very refreshing!