Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When is a novel really--no I mean, really--done?



When is your novel really done? Is it ever done? Do seasoned authors go back through their final-version book on the Borders shelf and think, oh I should have fixed that?

When is the right time to just let it go?

I've been working through revisions on Letters Never Sent for the past few months. My critique partner definitely thinks it's ready to go, but there are still things I can't quite let go of. Then I do a little blog surfing and I read so many revising suggestions: read your novel backwards; get rid of all the that's that aren't necessary; go through your MS just looking for awkward dialogue. You know what I mean.

A writer could literally revise for years and STILL not be done.

When I was a newspaper reporter and my articles averaged 700-1,500 words, I had an easy way to know when I was done. I would read through it aloud again and again until I had gone through the entire article once without making any changes. When an entire read-through only takes 15 minutes, this is doable. But with a 92,000 word novel, this is darn near impossible.

I guess today's post is more about questions. When do YOU (personally, not all authors in general) know your MS is done and ready to send out?

3 comments:

Jolene Perry said...

When I'm doing nothing more than changing ONE word here and there.

Ally Condie did a good blog on this not long ago.

Needs to have readers, needs to sit without me thinking or looking and then gone over again, and again and again...

Tana Adams said...

I've yet to finish a novel. I think that's the craziest part of this entire process. Perhaps one day when a publisher pries it away from me and prints it out, but even then I could see me wanting to attack it with my red pen. ;)

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