a weblog for readers and writers

Location: Baltimore-DC Area

Author who writes for a living and lives for writing. // WOMB: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing 2017) // TRACKS: A Novel in Stories (Atticus Books 2011) // FLIGHTLESS GOOSE, a storybook for children (Writers Lair Books 2008) // www.EricDGoodman.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Manuscript Shelved for 100 Years

I’ve always been an advocate for distancing yourself from your writing. Whether I’m writing a short story or a novel, I find a lot of value in putting my work on the shelf for a year or two and then revisiting it with fresh eyes instead of revising right away.

A good example of that is TRACKS, my novel in stories. I wrote the original draft back in 2004, then set it aside for two years before starting with the revisions. Of course, I’m writing and revising other manuscripts during that wait time. Shelving the work for a few years can be helpful.

But a hundred years?

The first of three volumes of Mark Twain’s autobiography was published this month, 100 years after his death. When Twain died in 1910, he left behind an unedited manuscript of 5,000 pages with instructions that it was not to be published until 100 years after his death.

So 100 years after death, Mark Twain is still creating a lot of buzz. His latest book was a bestseller before even being released, causing UC press to extend the print run from 50,000 to 300,000.

Maybe shelving your manuscript for a few years isn’t enough.

Meet the editors of Twain’s newest hit below.


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