Monday, July 07, 2008

Is it done yet?

Years ago (and I mean, YEARS ago), I was a painter. I majored in expressionist painting in college. Actually got a real, live degree in it. And people would look at my abstract explosions of color on canvas (well, they'd usually stare with skepticism!), and I often got this question: How do you know when you're finished? My answer? You just know.

When I started writing, I thought a lot about that question. And I haven't been able to transfer that certainty -- that conviction -- about finishing the work to my writing. When do I know my manuscript is finished? One NYT bestselling author answered a similar question with "You know you're finished with the book when you hit your deadline."

But I don't have a real deadline on my WIP. And yesterday, I found myself thinking about completely rewriting the last half of the book. Which, of course, will completely destroy my careful plans for sending the ms to the publisher by the end of the month.

And now I wonder if it's an avoidance tactic. Am I simply trying to delay the rejection?

Who knows. But I do know this.

I'm not finished yet.


Christy Reece said...

I have the same problem, JoAnn. Before I had official deadlines, I never stopped playing with my manuscript, thinking I could/should find a way to make it better. Now that I have deadlines, it's a little easier to let go, but not a lot.

I heard one writer say that when you're so sick of it you can't bear to read it one more time, then you know it's done. If that's true, I'm in trouble. I love reading my books!

Diane Richmond said...

I would only do it if you feel strongly about it. If not, Christy is correct, you could mess with it forever.