PDA

View Full Version : Do you find it hard to 'let go' of your novels...



Fiona
03-02-2011, 10:04 PM
I've come across this experience before: I've written something I'm pleased with (whether it be a short story, novel, poem etc), and I revise it, edit, take care of possible mistakes and grammar.... But still experience reluctance to let my baby go into the big wide world.

Does there reach a point where your search for perfection actually stops you drawing a finishing line under your work and submitting it to agents/publishers?

How easy do you find that stage where you think - 'that's that, you're ready, let's send you off'?

I know I could end up working on something forever, searching for perfection...repeating edits, re-writes, adding scenes, taking scenes away. Is this a confidence issue or something most go through? It's something I'm having at the moment, with my third book.

How easy do you find it to let your work become solid and send it off into the world?

Ineti
03-02-2011, 10:28 PM
Is this a confidence issue or something most go through?

Probably. Accept that you will never reach perfection unless you're God or a god. Finish the story, send it out (or not, if you're just writing for the love), and start the next one. Stories aren't babies. They're product.

Phaeal
03-02-2011, 10:35 PM
I'm eager to send stuff out. First draft to get it all down, second draft to correct structure and straighten out those discovered threads of theme, third draft to polish. Then it's out the door.

I will occasionally bring a story home for revision, either due to comments or my own epiphany. But it will generally go out again within a week.

I also recalled my last novel after a lackluster query/partial showing. Couple months of epiphany-inspired revisions, and it went out again and found its princely agent. :D

As for confidence, I substitute perserverence for that as necessary. ;) Gotta play to win.

kaitie
03-02-2011, 10:44 PM
I think I was more excited than reluctant both times, too. What I actually find myself more reluctant about was things like sending off requested revisions or that sort of thing. It seemed that there was more at stake in situations like that. When sending the first queries, though, I tended to be excited to see how it would turn out.

Chris P
03-02-2011, 10:49 PM
I'm getting less reluctant. Part of it is increased confidence by learning more about writing and publishing. I'm learning how to turn off the obsessive critics in my head who tell me one more pass to nuke out adverbs, redundant prepositional phrases, etc. and going with my gut. I'm sure I'm going to get slapped around a little bit once I start getting the big ol' novel subbed, but that's just part of it and another round of revisions probably isn't going to fix that. However, I do need to finish the revisions I've started for consistency.

Jamesaritchie
03-02-2011, 11:27 PM
I raised my real kids with the sole intent of helping them become the best adults they could be, and of then kicking their butts out the moment the reached legal age. This worked very well for my kids, and it works very well with my novels.

I keep them as long as they need me, but then I want them outta here, on their own, and hope dearly that they never need me again.

Alitriona
03-02-2011, 11:42 PM
Letting go scares the crap out of me but I do it anyway. It has to be done at some point.

jdm
05-01-2011, 08:03 PM
After the first dozen look-throughs, there are always a few things I am unhappy with. Until I get those things corrected to my satisfaction, I am never happy. I go ahead and send it out, but that doesn't stop me from going back over it a dozen more times and finding other things to fix in the meantime, depending upon my state of mind and additional experience.

timewaster
05-01-2011, 08:49 PM
I am always rather too keen to get them out of the door and probably should take a little longer letting them brew.

AlwaysJuly
05-02-2011, 12:37 AM
I am always rather too keen to get them out of the door and probably should take a little longer letting them brew.
I feel that way too. I'm a recovering perfectionist. Maybe TOO recovered.

timewaster
05-02-2011, 02:57 AM
I feel that way too. I'm a recovering perfectionist. Maybe TOO recovered.

How weird - so am I!
http://brownnicky.livejournal.com/88667.html

AlwaysJuly
05-02-2011, 03:43 AM
How weird - so am I!
http://brownnicky.livejournal.com/88667.htmlYeah, I can really empathize with your blog post - sounds a lot like where I'm coming from too! I realized that perfectionism is often counter to productivity as well asstealing the joy in the doing.

NeuroFizz
05-02-2011, 11:35 AM
I can't speak about any one individual, but I suspect the "pursuit of perfection" is just an excuse to some people. As long as there is a perceived need for just a few more tweaks, it negates the necessity of submitting the project (and risking rejection).

1. If publication is the goal, there is one absolute guarantee in this business. If nothing is submitted, nothing will be published.

2. If you do submit, the worst they can do is say "no." They are not going to trash your house, ruin your credit rating, or molest your dog.

3. If a person is such a perfectionist, he/she should realize the best way to strive for that perfection is to put the projects out for evaluation since evaluation-based learning is one of the best ways for a new or developing writer to improve (move in the direction of perfection).

4. Get to work on your next project. If you are treating your story as a human infant, wean the sucker in favor of your next infant. Once a project has literary teeth, it's time to take away the teat.

timewaster
05-02-2011, 12:46 PM
[QUOTE=NeuroFizz;6098255]I can't speak about any one individual, but I suspect the "pursuit of perfection" is just an excuse to some people. As long as there is a perceived need for just a few more tweaks, it negates the necessity of submitting the project (and risking rejection).

I think that might contain an element of truth however some perfectionists are successful so must find a way round that one, probably by working very hard indeed. Not being a perfectionist any more is definitely an excuse to justify idleness.

wizard tim
05-02-2011, 08:25 PM
Fiona, I like your question because I figure all writers slide back and forth between confidence and doubt.

But in this particular case with your third book, it might be your intuition warning you something isn't right. Maybe set the manuscript aside for 2 or 3 weeks, then pick it up and read it through fast. If you see a glaring problem, you can fix it. If not, then it's ready to send.

Jamesaritchie
05-02-2011, 10:17 PM
I have nothing against perfectionism, as long as the writer continues to make progress on a story, and gets it into submission within a reasonable time.

I do think it's often an excuse not to submit, but I also believe a lot of really bad advice on the Internet is often the cause. How many times have we read, "A manuscript must be perfect before you send it to an agent or an editor."

blacbird
05-02-2011, 11:27 PM
2. If you do submit, the worst they can do is say "no." They are not going to trash your house, ruin your credit rating, or molest your dog.

They molested my cat. I'm sure of it.

blacbird
05-02-2011, 11:30 PM
Nothing is perfetc. The problem isn't really perfectionism, so much as it is goodenoughism. The only way to know if something is good enough for publication is that it gets published. Problem is, if it doesn't get published, you tinker with it further trying to make it "good enough". At least I do. I now have lots of stuff to tinker with.

whacko
05-03-2011, 01:10 AM
Let my work go? I can't even give it away.

JoNightshade
05-03-2011, 01:14 AM
I'm always way to quick to get it out the door. I love it SO MUCH, so of course everyone else will, too! The slam comes later, when the rejections pour in.

From the title of this thread, I thought it was going to be about the kind of letting go I find difficult: moving on to the next project. I've just spent x amount of time with characters I know and love... and now... now I have to go find someone else to play with? NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isabelle
05-03-2011, 01:14 AM
I'm going through this for the first time, and the main thing I've been feeling is regret - that I should have rewritten this bit or changed that little thing or used a different word there. Instead of letting it go, I've been reading it all the time and torturing myself with things I find I wish I'd changed before I sent out my first queries.

And it does feel like something very personal of mine is suddenly out there in the world being judged, which is daunting.

Jamesaritchie
05-03-2011, 01:58 AM
Nothing is perfetc. The problem isn't really perfectionism, so much as it is goodenoughism. The only way to know if something is good enough for publication is that it gets published. Problem is, if it doesn't get published, you tinker with it further trying to make it "good enough". At least I do. I now have lots of stuff to tinker with.

I don't. This is another one of Heinlein's Rules. Once you submit it, leave it the hell alone until and unless an editor asks for changes.

Until and unless this happens, spend all your time writing the next novel, not tinkering with this one.