Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Never-ending Revising Cycle

Revisions are my nemesis. Every time I go through a manuscript I find problems--no matter how many times I've gone through it. So I fix the problems, then feel like I need to go through it yet again to make sure it's problem-free.

So I go through it again, only to find more problem areas, more places I can improve, more areas that didn't flow or sound the way I wanted it to sound. It's this never ending cycle that inches me ever closer to loathing the manuscript and believing it's the dumbest thing ever written.

I'll conceded that with each revision, the manuscript does get better, but it still isn't perfect. Never will be. So for all you fellow writers out there, my question is this: At what point do you call it quits? At what point can you say, "I've done my best, and if my best isn't good enough, well . . . "? (I'd like to think I'd finish that sentence with an "oh well", but the reality is that I'd burst into tears.) I realize there's no universal formula for this, but what's yours?


  1. Oooh, when you find the answer to this let me know! I still have no idea when to start querying because I never feel the ms is done.

  2. Me too. What helped me was one day my kids were watching the commentary on the Incredibles. The guy who wrote it talked about how he wanted to keep revising the script to make it better but he had to stop himself or it would've never become a movie.

  3. I call it quits when I start changing things back to how they were before my last revision. It takes a LONG time, and more than anything - some distance from the project. That's the hardest part because when I finish I want to be DONE.

    But when I get that rough draft done. I ignore it for at LEAST two weeks.

    When I get crits back, I want to jump into them right away, but I read through the comments, and sit on them for at least a few days.

    Actually. I'm going to go write a post about this.

    But TIME. ANd then yeah, when you're down to changing a word here and there, and then next time through, you change it back? That's when you're done.
    BUT you better have taken some time inbetween . . .

  4. I think I wrote this same post awhile back. I am like you. I get to the point where I am changing things back and forth and back and forth. And I NEVER get to that point where only tiny words are being changed. I think my best TIME TO FINISH thing is this: When I can read it aloud and feel okay with it. That's the best it's going to get for me.