Friday, August 5

When to Say "The End"?

I haven’t blogged much about writing these last few (several?) weeks. Mostly because I haven’t been writing. I typed “the end” on my WIP, reviewed it a few times for plot and writing issues, sent it to my Betas for their thoughts, then reviewed it a few more times for plot and writing issues, then sent it to my editor for a final look-over and grammar/punctuation correction.

And while the story was in her lap, I wandered aimlessly, thought about working on book #3, decided to not to start working on book #3, and basically took a few weeks to “re-set” as Kristi terms it.

A couple weeks ago, I received my edits back, and dove into them. I was pleased there were only a few issues to address, and thrilled that she corrected all my “captains.” This story is set in a military installation, and whether or not a person’s rank is capitalized depends on how it is used. As a proper name? Then capitalize it (“Major General, I look forward to my next assignment.”). As a noun? Then don’t. (The captain was ready for some R&R). And can I make a confession here? These details fall into the “I could probably figure this out myself, but my brain is so overwhelmed I’m going to leave it to my Editor to fix for me” category.

I have a writer peep who would disagree with me on that philosophy, saying that we writers are the ones who are most vested in our stories and should therefore strive to fully understand all the proper mechanics of writing instead of leaning on our editors to fix our ignorance. And I agree with her in theory. However, one glance at the pile of dirty dishes in my sink, and the truth is clear: I’m lazy. Ergo, my editor has to fix my stuff.

But my laziness and self-indulgent ignorance aside, after fixing my edits, I began to format my story for print and ebook. And That’s where this blog is going. I could pay someone to format my book like I pay someone to edit, but I have the skills and software programs to do it myself. However, as I’m doing this, I’m touching my story one last time. And, as a writer who is always looking to improve my story and fix issues maybe I’m the only one who even notices, I make changes.

This formatting time also becomes my “ooo, I really need to add in this one tidbit of backstory” time. And my “this happened, but then I don’t ever mention it again so maybe I should” time. And my “I started a want theme but then switched to a wish theme… better fix that” time. And my….. well, you get the picture J

At this point, I feel a lot like George Lucas, always revising my work of science fiction art to better reflect my vision. The good news is that I don’t have a bajillion fans whose entire childhood experiences was shaped by my book and who have to spend the money yet again to purchase the latest and greatest version and digital format. So, if I change a few things to make me happy, no one will be the wiser for it (and hopefully my book will be the better for it).

But when do I throw my hands up and say “This work of art is complete”? When do I stop fixing and tweaking those last little bitty details that no one else will even notice? When do I hit the “publish” button on Amazon and walk away? As a self-pubbed author, my deadlines are more fluid. Yes, I wanted this book published early July. Yes, since I missed that deadline, I’m striving for an August 15th date. Yes, I can move that date just as easily to another, later date. Like trying to move the football down the field but never quite reaching the goalpost. When do I decide to just punt?

This is one of the challenges we authors face. When to stop writing and send our babies out into the cruel world. Fear can keep us ever-tweaking and never-publishing our stories. Our need for perfection can keep us from typing “the end, and I really mean it this time.” Or, maybe we just have to wait for the muse to push us to that final step like we waited for her to inspire us through the story in the first place.

For me, this one will be easy. I’m ready for it to be finished. I feel confident about it. I think it’s as good as I can produce at this point in my writing career. As the beginning of school looms near and I’m ready to send the kiddos into their new adventure of a new teacher and new classmates, I’m also ready to send my book on its own new adventure.

Finally… because I have dirty dishes to do!

4 comments:

  1. A great post. Sounds like you're working your way to an answer to one of those questions we all keep asking!

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    1. Yep! Right after I make one more change! ;-)

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  2. You're there, baby! Can't wait to order the new book! So proud of you and all your hard work!

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  3. I haven't had too much trouble with that (yet). Generally there comes a moment when I'm just so sick of the manuscript, I want to send it in and be done with it. Of course, by that point I've gone over it well over a dozen times ... and even then it seems like there's always a handful of corrections to make later on, before it hits print.

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