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Super-busy schedule the last few weeks has meant two things:

1. Some stories had to be revised very soon after the first draft: a matter of days. In case of the flash pieces for the A-Z challenge, hours.

2. Other stories that had languished for months, feedback in tow, stayed that way.

I found that I was more confident with quicker revisions, and gained more objectivity faster once I got down to a lot of writing pressure…is shortening times between revisions a matter of practice?

Conversely, I also found revising the really old stories much easier and considerably more painless than I had expected.

So, I’m wondering if I should allow lots of time before revisions, or just get down to it quickly after the first draft, at least for the flash fiction pieces.

How long do you let a story/ novel lie before you pick it up for revisions?

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Donea Lee says:

    I've done both, too. Although – I think I prefer to do them while the story is fresher in my mind. It helps with the connectivity of all the plot points and making sure everything flows and makes sense together. I catch more mistakes that way…

    Best of luck with your revisions! 🙂

  • Donna Hole says:

    I do both; but I'm also big on editing as I go along. Takes me a long time to write anything. But I get more objectivity when I finish up story, send it to the crit group, and then let it simmer a little while.

    I think it just depends on the deadlines. Lately I've been writing short stories for specific publications, and that helps keep me on a specific schedule. I have several short stories and the beginning of a novel that is languishing unfinished because I have no deadline to submit them. Shame, shame.


  • Kari Marie says:

    I've heard that you should wait to revise between four weeks to years. I think it all depends on you. How long do you need to be away from the work before you can be completely objective about it? For my first book I waited about 5 weeks.

  • Funny, I usually take less time to revise a short story as well. Usually within a week of writing I'll have it spit and polished.

    Novels, I have done both ways and I have to say, letting the ms. sit for at least 9 months, even longer, is a good idea. By the time you get to it again, you can really see all the mistakes loud and clear.

  • Suze says:

    If at all possible, wait at least a year to revise a novel. Two is better, three is best.