There is a lot to be said for the objectivity afforded by letting a manuscript sit. While dust mites procreate between our neglected pages, so burgeons our ability to discern the wheat from the chaff of our creative brilliance.
Unfortunately, time is not on my side. The Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators is hosting a conference in Bologna, Italy this coming spring and I've signed on for a manuscript review: twenty minutes with an editor, writer, or agent who will give their opinion of my work and perhaps nudge it toward publication. Not only must I have a reasonably presentable draft, but a synopsis as well--a summary of the novel's key points boiled down to what can fit on a postcard. The deadline: January 31, 2008. Need I say, "Oi!"?
So Draft 4, begun only a week after it's predecessor was put to bed, will demand ample conscious objectivity on my part. I will have to impose a list of demands on every scene: mood, characterization, place and plot. The key will be to maintain a forward momentum. After all, Draft 5 awaits.