1. BruMeister
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    BruMeister Member

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    How do you know its done?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by BruMeister, Jul 28, 2009.

    Hello folks, I've been writing this story of mine for the past 6 or 7 years, rewriting and editing. At first it started off as just a thing to pass the time, but now it's become more of a mission. I'm now taking it more seriously because I want to get it published.

    However, as I look over my old works, and even what I'm working now, I always see room for improvement. Obviously I'm far from "completion", so this feeling is completely necessary. However, my concern is, that no matter who you are or what you right, SOMETHING can be always "fixed" or "edited". As I am constantly learning how to better my own work, how will I know when its finally done?
     
  2. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    When other people don't notice what could be improved ;)

    You'll often see things that others won't, so when you feel that you've improved significantly since the last time, read the book as if you didn't write it. If it's almost perfect, you're done. Just a few tweaks that can largely, though not entirely, be ignored.
     
  3. FrankB
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    FrankB Member

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    It's done when you can't stand looking at it anymore.

    Then set it aside for a week or two, give it a quick once-over and send it on its rounds.
     
  4. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's done when revising becomes more of an obsession than contructive work.
     
  5. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    Just read it and if it conveys the picture you want, then it's done.
     
  6. Primitive
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    Primitive Member

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    Always remember, nothings perfect.

    If you try and perfect your peice of writing, it will NEVER get sent away. Simple as.


    Id either, print a few copies for a few friends (ones that wont go, oh its the best thing since sliced bread). Or shove it in a draw for three months, than read it and see the real errors in it.

    People that do get published still go "oh darn, it could have been better." BUT they sent it off good enough and got published!

    Im not saying send it off (far from that), just saying b careful of the perfecting trap.
     
  7. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    It's never done, but you should give yourself a time frame and then let some readers check it out.
     
  8. Forde
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    Forde Member

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    So true!

    I find writing (or, more specifically for my style: rewriting) to be rather like drawing and painting: you can fiddle and touch up a new piece forever and never be satisfied with the result. You have to be able to step away and make a judgement call, or get a fresh pair of eyes to do that for you.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    In software engineering, a similar problem exists. Every piece of software contains defects (bugs). If you continue creating test cases, you can always find more failures that need fixing, but if you never release the product, it's irrelevant.

    A common approach is to set an arbitrary deadlinem and release the product at that time irrespective of how many defects are still being uncovered by testing. Unfirtunately, that often results in a defect-riddled product and a bad reputation among consumers. And if you have a dozen superb product releases with one sloppy one, guess which one you will be judged by the next time you try to release a new product.

    The other strategy is to keep track of the number and severity of the defects you discover with each round of tests. When the number of defects at each severity level drops below a predetermined threshold, the product is ready for release.

    This presupposes that the testing group is motivated to find as many defects as possible with each set of tests written. A successful test is one which reveals a previously undiscovered defect.

    You can carry this over to writing. Keep track of the quantity and type of revisions you do in each revision pass. You don't need to keep rigorous tallies of the number of SPaG corrections, plot holes, and major plot changes, but it may help if you do, In any case, when you find that the changes you are finding are few and finicky, you really should stop futzing around with it.

    Or you could set yourself a deadline. I think you can tell which approach I favor.
     
  10. Mordecai
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    Mordecai Member

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    "Fixed" and "edited".

    But in all seriousness, every single story that I have called "done" or "completed", I still look at them like they need a touch-up. It's almost like their skin is aging and it needs some plastic surgery to keep it looking fresh.

    But this is all just a part of life. Not even just writing, it's anything you do. Everything in life should always feel like it has to be done better to make it perfect. But we aren't perfect and the world sure isn't either. Like someone said above, "stop messing with it if it looks like you got your message across". If it looks good to you, minus a few editing mistakes, then it should be done. Move on. Maybe come back a later date and give it a check up.

    Like Cogito said, set a deadline. That's always worked for me. Because at the end of it all, if you're story is finished, you feel accomplished and happy about what you produced. If you didn't accomplish your goal to meet at the deadline, then you have failed. We all want to achieve, right? :rolleyes:
     
  11. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    Ick, I used to do programming. You can either sit there trying to predict all the ways a user might break your program OR you can just test the dang thing and see if YOU can break and see if YOU can understand how to use it.
     

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