1. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    How do you decide when the book is done?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Stammis, Oct 22, 2015.

    While writing I have noticed that I edit my work constantly, I can imagine this happens to all writers at their early stages but as a beginner author and first book, this happens very frequently. My question is, how do you decide when your book is ready when you learn new things and improve your craft while writing the book?

    I donĀ“t have any connections within the writers world and no one in my family is or have ever been writers, so it is hard to find any constructive criticism. I myself just started writing after studying political science for 5 years, so i did not build any contacts for this profession during collage either.

    Perhaps reviews from people that are not themselves in the writing business is better than I give them credit for?
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2015
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  2. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I don't think I ever will! 8 years and still driving me mad. It doesn't help that I started off with no idea what the hell I was writing. Still learning, so hoping I realise when it's time to stop.
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    People who read a lot, and who are capable of reading reasonably critically, can be great beta readers - I prefer them to writers, myself, as non-writers seem less inclined to insert their own writing style into my work.

    So, yes, definitely, try to get some outside readers from any source you can find. Encourage them to be as honest as they can be, and possibly provide them with a series of guiding questions - If you were going to name one strength and one weakness of this work, what would they be? Were there parts of the story that dragged and you skimmed over? Were there parts of the story that made you roll your eyes? etc.

    And then no matter what the responses are, don't change anything right away. Give yourself some time to think it through and decide if you agree with any criticism, compare responses from different readers and see if the agree, etc.

    But, in general, you're on the right track thinking that getting outside readers is a good way to figure out where your work is.
     
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  4. Stammis
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    Stammis Contributing Member

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    Gut feeling uh? Gotcha!
     
  5. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    When I'm dead
     
  6. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Just get feedback from anyone. Anyone who likes to read. You want honest responses to your work though - no soft soap which is why a writing site is so good for this.

    As for knowing when the story is done. Hard to say. It's easier for me to know when a short story is done versus a novel. The novel I'm working on now I'm three quarters of the way through and I know it's going to need some work. Usually when I stop being able to point out what's wrong with it or I'm just tired of it ( and I've done a few drafts ) then I know it's time to stop tinkering and let someone read it.
     
  7. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    The book is "done" when it's published.

    All time up until the Editor says, "We're sending it to print," is open for editing, hence the book is not "done." The whole reason I chose to have my work published BEFORE defending my thesis was so that my committee couldn't send me back for "one more revision."
     
  8. Tella
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    Tella Member

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    I look at a story's progress from a logical point of view. You have several points to conclude:

    • What is the main plot? Is it done? Did X accomplish their Y? Additionally, if there are subplots that are important to be finished, what came of them?
    • Did the general point\concept\feeling of the story get across? Have you properly delivered it through the several scenes of the core of the story?
    • Does some segments feel out of place? Lacking? Boring? Adorn and refine.
    • Variety in writing, corrections and miscellanea. Put everything together and make the work clean and in order.
    The aim is that you should be content at the end result. Granted, there will always be something new to add or replace, or after declaring the story done some new ideas pop in your head and you'd say "I could've done that instead of that, etc..." But then again any story could be told in thousands of different ways, so there is no correct format. Take comfort in that.
     
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  9. Erez Kristal
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    Erez Kristal Member

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    I hear you, the editing phase is a nightmare.
    I guess when it's good enough?

    I guess you can always revisit the book later under a different name and cover for new review scores.
    If it sells bad, then people won't hear about you anyway. :)
     
  10. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    When I read it and get lost in it rather than stopping every few paragraphs to highlight something as awkward/wrong/out of character/whatever. Then it's time to let others point out where they stopped. :D
     
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  11. davidov
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    davidov Member

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    Someone asked Jackson Pollock how he knew when a painting was finished, and he said "How do you know when you're finished making love?"
     
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  12. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    My cue is usually the sigh of disappointment.
     
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