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How do you know when to stop?

(23 Posts)
donnasummer Sun 31-Mar-13 07:36:07

Currently working on a manuscript. Have revised and redrafted. Right now am feeling I have no more to say and it is finished. On the other hand I could put it in a drawer, come back to it a month later and make changes. I could keep doing this indefinitely.
When your only deadline is your own, how do you know when a book is finished?

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 19:05:29

When you're bored with it.
Seriously. It's never finished, otherwise.
JK Rowing mutters about rewriting half of the HP books, says they would have been so different if she hadn't been working to such tight deadlines.

donnasummer Sun 31-Mar-13 19:08:10

well I'm more than bored with it, I'm sick to death of it! I guess that means I'm done!

lljkk Sun 31-Mar-13 21:46:48


skippedtheripeoldmango Tue 16-Apr-13 17:44:07

Congrats on finishing!!

donnasummer Wed 17-Apr-13 21:41:19

Thanks! Only turns out I'm NOT finished. Sob....
Backstory, I committed the cardinal sin of subbing to agent assuming it would take ages to hear back. I had written the whole book, but not to my entire satisfaction. Anyway, I had a full ms request the next day shock, so had to scramble to revise rest.
Upshot, she'll look at it again once I've revised
Here we go again!

TunipTheVegedude Wed 17-Apr-13 21:51:24

yay, congrats on the revise & resubmit!
Has she given you any pointers as to what she wants improved?

schmalex Thu 18-Apr-13 11:18:23

Isn't there a saying that novels aren't finished, they're abandoned?!

donnasummer Thu 18-Apr-13 18:52:06

Thanks! she wants more of a page turner. Sigh
I have lots of abandoned ms's in a drawer. This one has to find a home!

GrendelsMum Sun 28-Apr-13 17:47:26

Having just had a professional critique, I suspect the answer is something along the lines of write it, re-write it, get it as good as you can, and then totally pull the whole thing to pieces and start again wink

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 28-Apr-13 17:50:31

I'm about ready to fling mine out of the window. I'm assuming it's almost there. grin

TunipTheVegedude Sun 28-Apr-13 21:36:41

I still like mine so that means I am definitely less than halfway.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 28-Apr-13 21:44:10

The really scary thing is that if after all these rewrites you get an agent to take it on they will probably say, 'But before we submit it you need to do this, this and this....' - and all the this things will be massive.

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 28-Apr-13 21:50:35

or then there's the ones who will ask you to change things which takes you months, then they will say it's still not right and won't sign you. sad

TunipTheVegedude Sun 28-Apr-13 21:59:11

Yes. Only really silly people would try and be writers.

<hands out thanks and wine and non-aggressive biscuit to everyone going through a hard patch>

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 28-Apr-13 22:00:52

I'm silly then. grin Thank you for the wine etc.

TunipTheVegedude Sun 28-Apr-13 22:05:59

We all are grin

It is fun though, the actual writing, when you manage to separate it from the stressing!

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Sun 28-Apr-13 22:12:25

I had a great time writing mine. The editing is a PITA though.

TunipTheVegedude Mon 29-Apr-13 11:41:49

The more I learn, the bigger I realise the mountain is that we have to climb.
In some ways it's nicer when you're stuck in the foothills and think the little hillocks around you are as high as the mountain gets.
Then you get over them and see Everest.

Luckily the learning-to-write Mount Everest is not as dangerous as the actual Everest and you rarely lose toes and fingers from frostbite (though I did lose a fingernail during my first draft, but it's grown back again).

LadyMaryQuiteContrary Mon 29-Apr-13 12:05:59

grin I murdered my main character's mother in the first draft. She sprung back to life in the subsequent versions though so all is well. I am pretty much sick of the sight of it now though, I'm not sure if my inability to see anything to change is because I can't be bothered, or whether it's almost there. confused

GrendelsMum Mon 29-Apr-13 18:00:21

Oh, that's so true, Tunip! You've reminded me of all those childhood walks with false summits, and you go over yet another hummock and then a cheery passer by on their way down says 'oh, you're nowhere near the top yet'.

ninah Tue 30-Apr-13 20:41:23

I am reasonably grateful I am too busy to write til July. By then I am hoping to rediscover a decent level of enthusiasm and attack.

SolidGoldBrass Sun 26-May-13 12:17:04

I can identify with the idea that, even after it's in print, you find yourself thinking well, actually, wish I'd changed that bit, made him nicer, her more assertive, used fewer adjectives...

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