Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Fresh Starts

by Jemi Fraser

It's that time of year when many people look forward and back to see where they are - to re-evaluate their position in their lives and see how they're doing with their goals. In that theme, today I'd like to talk about Fresh Starts.

I like Fresh Starts - they're exciting and invigorating. To me, there's nothing quite like that initial blank page - so full of potential and possibilites.

But a fresh start doesn't have to be a brand new project. It can be a chance to rework an older ms that's been sitting on the shelf for a while. For me, it's impossible to see a project clearly unless it's been sitting for a few weeks - and even then, it's better if I've written or revised another project in the meantime. Then my eyes and my brain are fresh. I don't know about you, but my brain hangs on to certain phrases. Without that simmering time, I can read right over issues because my brain knows what I really wanted to write in the first place.

But once I've had that time, I can see the project with fresh eyes. I fall in love with my characters again and see where the problems lie much more easily!

So a fresh start might not be a fresh project, but an older idea or ms that's been marinating while you've worked on something else.

What kinds of fresh starts do you like best? Do you let your projects simmer while you work on something else?

Jemi Fraser is an aspiring author of contemporary romance. She blogs and tweets while searching for those HEAs.

27 comments:

JeffO said...

When I complete a work, I let it sit for six weeks or so, or until it gets back in my brain and won't leave me alone. I try to find some smaller project to work on during that time, and save the Next Big Project for when the last one is out with readers or is so done that I can query it.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mine don't tend to sit for very long. Usually by the time I finish, I've forgotten how it began, so it's new to me!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, sometimes I've left mine to sit for quite awhile. I see it with fresh eyes when I do that.

Laura Marcella said...

I love fresh starts! It makes something old feel new and exciting again. I always let my projects simmer for a bit. Taking it out later allows for a better perspective and new ideas occur to me.

Jemi Fraser said...

Jeff - that sounds like a really good plan to me!

Alex - that can work too! I did the same with some earlier stories, but I seem to write faster now! :)

Natalie - the fresh eyes really help me!

Laura - that's exactly how I feel! :)

SC Author said...

Fresh starts are all about feeling that something new will happen (at least for me, that's what they feel like). Like all the past mistakes are gone and you can make more and start clean! I did start a new MS yesterday, though. D:

LD Masterson said...

I like to let a piece sit for a while. When I can pick it up and get engrossed reading it, I know it's been long enough.

Romance Book Haven said...

Hi Jemi!

Great advice! I go through once while editing and then after a day or two make a second sweep and I find it works well for me.

Nas

Jemi Fraser said...

SC - love that! It's exactly that feeling - all things are possible & you've learned more so this will be better! :)

Linda - that's a really good test for it! I love being surprised by what happens again!

Nas - agreed - even that little bit of distance helps!

Medeia Sharif said...

Yes, I let my projects simmer while I work on other things. I don't get bored or stuck, so I stay productive.

Jemi Fraser said...

Medeia - I'm the same - if one isn't flowing, I can switch it up and keep fresh :)

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Jemi,

Happy 2013!

I absolutely let things sit for a while and go back. I am currently working on my FIRST novel again. I wrote it in 2009... I just won't give up on it.

And yes, it's a great feeling to see the magic still there and with more writing experience, we can tweak or old ms' and really give them a fresh new life!

All the best for this year!

Jemi Fraser said...

Hi Michael!! :)

I have one story from about back then too. I didn't know enough when I wrote it. I've given it a major revision, but I know it needs even more. It's been sitting over a year now - maybe it's time to dig it back out! :)

DL Hammons said...

I approach my upcoming revisions as a fresh start. I left my manuscript untouched for several months, read numerous other books, not I'm ready to tackle it with fresh eyes! Great topic! :)

Jemi Fraser said...

DL - thank you! I love fresh eyes and fresh starts too. So exciting! :)

Julie Musil said...

OMG get this...

I had a ms that I thought was totally ready. It sat over the holidays and guess what? It's SO not ready!

Jemi Fraser said...

Julie - love that! I'm just looking over one from summer NaNo and while I love it - it needs some work too! :)

Lynda R Young said...

I love working on a fresh idea for a story and nutting out the plot and discovering the characters for the first time.

Great post, Jemi.

Jemi Fraser said...

Lynda - thank you! Creating something brand new is my favourite part of the whole process - but coming at a project with fresh eyes is 2nd! :)

Stephen Tremp said...

I admit to working on more than one book at a time and letting something simmer on the back burner. If I have thoughts, I have to commit them to a Word doc. regardless if it means bumping a WIP and letting it simmer.

Jemi Fraser said...

Stephen - that's a good plan. Listening to the project banging on my skull the hardest works for me :)

mshatch said...

Sometimes I do let projects simmer in my head for a while before tackling them and other times I just jump in. I think it depends on whether I'm in the mood for plotting or pantsting :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Ms H - I'm almost always in the mood for pantsting! I usually have a (very) vague idea where the story's going but that's about it :)

Tara Tyler said...

this is true! we get a refreshing break, maybe see some family & friends, laze around...
then january is like a big fat monday, feeling refreshed and ready to get back to work! (or get work done & make it to the weekend...)

Jemi Fraser said...

Tara - love that! It's totally a big fat Monday!!! Perfect :)

TerryLynnJohnson said...

I usually can't wait for a first draft to be finished so I can do the fresh start thing with it. Revising is so much more fun for me than blank pages!

Jemi Fraser said...

Terry - not me! I love those blank pages (most of the time anyway!), but I'm getting better at loving revision too :)