Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Dangers of Re-re-re-re-re-reading

No, the title is not a typo. I don't think I included enough Re's, though. I'm reading Running Down the Dragon for the eleventy-seventh time, and I'm STILL finding things that I want to change. How can this be?

I've rewritten, edited, had critiques, edited some more, revised, tinkered, and edited again. How can there be anything left to change at this point? I'm not sure if ANY of the words are still in the same place they were when I first wrote them down.

Luckily for me, some of the changes are simple typos. I can't believe there are STILL typos in this thing, but there they are!

Some of the changes are shuffling a word or a sentence around. I just restructured the opening paragraph yesterday. I didn't really change much, but I did make the opening stronger. Silly little things like this are the bulk of the changes.

Finally, there are the subtle FEELINGS I want to add. I'll be reading along, and think, "That character should have done something or said something to show their feelings." And at this point I started to feel like an obsessive nutter.

How many edits should it take before I stop trying to find ways to add subtle nuance to the plot?

I stopped reading last night and really thought about that question. I could spend the rest of my life making this one single novel absolutely perfect. I could spend years putting every change I could imagine into the plot, into the characters, into the dialogue. But then what would I have? I'd have a perfect novel that nobody would ever read. Because I never let it go.

You know what? I think I'm okay with letting this one go now.

I'm sure that if it ever sells, the agent/editor/publisher will have something to say about it. I will diligently apply any edits they suggest. Other than that, I declare, by the power vested in me by having written the damned thing, THIS NOVEL IS COMPLETE! CARL GIVES HIS STAMP OF APPROVAL.*

This is Carl. He lives on my bed. He approves, so it's all good.
Now to finish reading it so the edits can begin on the second volume of Thalia's story.

*Note: From now on, when something is settled and final, Carl will offer his stamp of approval. I dare you to prove Carl wrong, since he's a Psychotic Beaver. There's no changing his mind.


  1. Psychotic beavers are Canada's national animal. :)

    1. We've got some out in the lake, too, but Carl is a tame psychotic beaver. And he's squishy.

  2. Nail on the head. It's important to work hard editing your novel, but there has to be a point where you say "good enough."

    1. Thanks. I've been kicking myself for days over the nit-pickiest things, including whether or not I could just let go. Good enough is good enough! :)

  3. I've been doing that to one story for the past fifteen years. During then, I've rewritten both story and characters several times, added chapters and more characters, put it out for critique, added more, shifted over stuff, put it out for critique again.

    I'm still finding typos. ^_^


Tell me all about it: