– by Victor Acquista
I recently completed a novel. Well, I think I completed it. But I’m not sure. I have doubts, uncertainties, and insecurities. Am I really finished? Would another round of edits, or input from additional beta readers spot something or provide input that leads me to change something, improve something, give the writing additional buff and shine?
How do you know when a work is done to final completion? How do you decide? When all is said and done, any work can undoubtedly be improved. Where is the point to invoke the law of diminishing returns?
Recently, I’ve immersed myself into the world and nuances of editing. Macro and micro editing, developmental, line, content, and copyediting, constitute a confusing maze to negotiate. Do I trust an editor to tell me everything is good to go?
This particular novel is written under contract with a publisher. At the end of the day, they decide if and when the book is ready to be published. If I was self-publishing, the decision is entirely my own. In this particular instance, I am responsible for providing a finished work that is “editorially acceptable”. That designation is a term of art. Isn’t there something subjective about what is or is not acceptable? Where is the line drawn? How am I to know? Have I indeed finished this particular novel?
I want to provide a fully polished work-product that is as good as I can make it given my writing skill set and level of accomplishment. Am I at that point with my current work? Is now the time to submit it? Would another set of eyes see something that I am missing? When you are fully immersed in a plot and characters, when you have read and reread, and tweaked things ad nauseum, objectivity is lost.
When do you say, “enough is enough”? How can you make that determination? Is there a process, a guideline, an invocation or end-ritual to help determine that I am done? When is “done” done?