Writer’s Wednesday: Let The Lasagna Rest

This post, “Let the Lasagna Rest,” is the first of a new category of posts called Writer’s Wednesday, culled from my personal writing experiences.

This summer I’m working through another round of edits on a traditional mystery manuscript I wrote last year. Let me tell you, it’s been a long journey with this story, and I’ve come close to giving up on it several times.

When I first finished it, I knew the story needed a professional edit before it ever went to an agent. I shelled out the money, not quite expecting the results.

What happened? The Editor found problems galore with my plot, my characters. After listening to her scathing judgments, all I could do was shove the miserable thing under my bed.

But I knew enough NOT TO DO ANYTHING to my story while I weighed my options. In my state of emotional vulnerability, I was too close to my book to realistically understand what IT needed. I heeded the advice I’d heard from many writers over the years:

Lesson Learned (#1): ALWAYS set your work aside, for a time, in order to get fresh perspective.

I’ve heard this waiting period called many things, including “letting the lasagna rest.” (For those of you who cook Italian, you know what I’m referring to. This is the span of time you set the baked pasta aside to allow its layers to congeal.)

You can’t realistically evaluate those precious words you’ve crafted without a serious dose of mental detachment. This cooling-off time is the closest you’ll ever come to being objective about your work.

I even “let the lasagna rest” with my blog posts! Coming back to my words a day or two later helps me zero in on things I wouldn’t have seen, had I posted right away.

Now that I’ve had months to think through it, I believe The Editor was (mostly) right with her objections. I’m busy reworking many of her suggestions into the new and improved version of my mystery, hopefully this time to send it a little further down the road to its publication.

Next Wednesday, I’ll share the next of my “Lessons Learned”:

Lesson #2: The absolute best place to position the emotional punch of a sentence.

Lookin’ up,




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