Wednesday, January 6, 2016


It's the first Wednesday of the month time for another IWSG post where we writers help each other deal with our insecurities. A warm thank you to Ninja Captain, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and his team of Ninjas for January for providing writer's a safe and supportive format to speak openly, and without fear, about the insecurities that come with the craft of writing. Be sure to check out the  IWSG Facebook page where writers can garner support more than once a month. You can learn more about IWSG, or join in the IWSG fun, here.

Mark Twain is credited with saying, “We write frankly and fearlessly but then we "modify" before we print.” I don't have a problem with the writing frankly and fearlessly part, it's the modifying that's seems to be holding me back. 

I'm pretty sure I've asked this question before, as it's always on my mind, but how do you know when your story is really done? I mean reeaaally know. When is it the final, final draft? I keep writing that final draft, only to have to revise, which then makes it another first draft, right? So does one ever get a final draft that's not a first draft because it's been revised from it's original final draft?

Take me for example, (since I am the one writing this post) I've finished my WIP several times. Yet each time I pass it on to a Beta reader, I get it back with notes, suggestions, and things that need to be fixed. So, I work on those things and repeat the process. Only to have the same thing happen. It's like I'm stuck in some sort of temporal loop where the modifying never ends. I've heard the "You just know," speech many times, but truth be told... I don't know. I think I do, but based on the feedback I get, I don't. I've also heard the, "You just need to put it out there," speech, too. Isn't that what giving it to the Beta readers is? It's like I don't have a story, I have a boomerang! 

Okay, that's my honest writing insecurity for the first month of 2016-- that I will always be modifying. I am hopeful that is not the case, but I'm fearful that it may be. Either way, as my WIP is out with a few Beta readers right now, I'm pretty sure the next few months will be spent modifying. 


What are your writing insecurities? Are you revising your WIP? Is it a boomerang, too?


10 comments:

S.A. Larsenッ said...

Revising can be an endless black hole if you let it. At some point you have to look at the work and decide if you've communicated the message you intended and whether your characters and setting have gotten the job done. Honestly, I think I could revise forever. I always seem to find some element I could alter or add. If I'm not careful I can drive myself nuts. CPs are great for helping us determine if we need to keep revising or not. Also, putting the manuscript away for a bit after a few revisions really helps me.

All the best to you in 2016!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Sometimes we just rinse and repeat, probably a brain thing.

Deborah Hawkins said...

One thing I had to learn is not to edit for EVERY comment I received back. Then, the work would never be done. Someone also said, it technically is never done, you just have to trust yourself and throw it out then when you feel it's time.

Crystal Collier said...

Truthfully, you're done when you no longer have a desire change it. Readers will ALWAYS have suggestions because that's what they're supposed to do. I always shoot something to 2 or 3 people at once, and the things all of them say are the things that need to be changed. After that, it's all up to the editor as to what happens.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

The best way to know is to send it out into the world to a publisher or agent. Even when I'd involved in the last round of edits from my publisher where I can't make any big changes, I see ways I could improve a novel. You have to stop somewhere.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

At some point, you have to stick to what you wrote. Everyone has a different opinion. Don't let them stray you from your vision.
And I know it's done when I start changing things back to the way they were originally.

authorcgcoppola.com said...

God, yes. It's always a boomerang. But I think after a few beta reads/MS revisions, you're done. You can always ALWAYS edit/change/update something later, but you come to a point where it's almost unnecessary, and that point is difficult to identify.

I'd say, when you feel good/get a good vibe off the piece, then it's time to let it go. You've got to feel it, trust your instinct that it's hit everything on your checklist. And don't think of it as a boomerang at that point, but a frisbee. There's no coming back.

Hope that helps (although it probably didn't) but I'm rooting for you!
Good luck and happy new year!
CG

S.P. Bowers said...

Honestly, I think we could be forever tweaking, polishing, and editing our manuscripts. I don't think we'll ever be 'done' in the way that we won't see things to change or improve. But, there has to come a point when you send it out, otherwise it will never get published. Good luck finding your 'done'.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I think it could go around and around forever if you let it. You just have to say "Done" at some point.

Stephanie Faris said...

You could revise forever, but there's a point when you just need to put it out there and move on to the next work. I'd say the best course of action is to set a timeline. They call it "timeboxing" in the software world. Timeboxing is a set date that you MUST stick to, whether the product is ready or not. That pushes you to hurry up and get it done!

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