Tuesday, November 29, 2011

At what point do you just go for it?

I wrote Fractured Light in 2009. I went through the normal writing process of editing several times and having others look it. I even set it aside for a few months then pulled it back out to edit again. When that was finished, I began the query process. At one point I had an agent ask me to rework the first one hundred pages, which I did.

Where am I going with all this? Not sure, but hang in there.

Last week my editor gave me a proof of Fractured Light to look for any final mistakes. This is the first time I've looked at it in eight months. Gulp. Cringe. Barf. I had mistakes. Not necessarily typos, but things I didn't even know were wrong at the time I wrote it. The mistakes are subtle; the normal reader probably won't notice. But I did.

I fixed what I could in the short amount of time I was given. Hopefully I've made it better, but if I could really get my hands on it I'd do more.

I've learned a lot about writing this year. Things I already knew but didn't fully grasp how to apply them.  Things like filtering, participial phrases, and dialogue tags. I think when it comes to writing you're always learning and you can always get better. But at what point do you say, "I'm done! I can't take it anymore."?

I believe I hit this point with Fractured Light. I was so ready to move on. And I think this is important too. Your characters can suck you into their world if you let them, and you'll get stuck there for years. I didn't want to do that; other characters had begun to whisper, and I wanted to listen.

What do you think? Where's the balance between editing and just going for it?


Kelley said...

It's a combination of things. When I know my characters have said all they need to say. When I've gotten it back from my critique partners and beta readers and I've considered all their suggestions.

And when those next characters won't shut up... :)

E.M. LaBonte said...

It's hard to keep that balance between perfection and too much. I've found the gut feeling the thing to listen to. When you are done, its done.

ilima said...

Amen to everything you said. And after all those breaks and edits and critiques and edits, at the point when I'm ready to light a fire to the dang MS because I can't stand to look at it any longer...then it's ready.

Kate Larkindale said...

I don't think a book is ever really done. There's always more you'll want to change each time you look at it, but at a certain point you just have to leave it. For me, it's usually when I'm so sick of the thing I can't even look at it without gagging. And the next book is hammering my skull to get out.

Kristen said...

Well, I think if you think it's done, then it is.
That's exciting--a little scary too. But great!