1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Having trouble reaching the finish line

    Discussion in 'Revision and Editing' started by deadrats, Sep 22, 2022.

    Lately, I just can't get my work to the point where I truly believe it's to the best of my abilities. Like every time I revisit what I momentarily think is ready for submission I catch things that need rewritten. The thing is that every time I rework a piece it does get better so this is not just tinkering. These are improvements.

    My initial writing is pretty clean. I am somewhat of a grammar wiz and story structure is a strength. I usually feel things are pretty good, but I also recognize where I can make them better during revision. So, if any of you can relate, how do I handle this to reach that finish line?

    I'm not a writer who self publishes so my writing needs to be good enough for it to sell to publishers. And I know I only get one chance with a publisher. I have been published in the past at some pretty amazing places. Don't ask me how I've done it. But I do want to repeat my past success.

    I believe revision is where the magic happens. Do you agree? And if so, how to you cast that final spell that truly gets your writing up to snuff? I'm not a perfectionist at all, but this process has become harder for me to feel satisfied enough to call a story actually done.
     
  2. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum Contributor

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    You might be advancing to a new level of skill. It often works in writing the same way it does in drawing, which is where I first heard about this, so I'll descibe it that way.

    There's what's known as the hand and the eye. The eye is your ability to see how well something works, and the hand is the ability to draw (or write). Usually the eye improves before the hand does, meaning you'll start to be unsatisfied with work that in the past you would have been happy with, because now you can see beyond that older level.

    It usually takes some time after the eye develops before the hand reaches the ability to raise its work to the new standard. It might even require some study going deeper into areas you're already good at, to push deeper and improve more. Or maybe just becoming aware of new things (the eye developing) is all that's required. It can be different depending on the specifics of the situation.

    I don't know if this is what's happening in your case, but it might be.
     
  3. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I hear what you're saying, but I don't think that's the case with me. It's more a matter a recent writing and revision. Not really enough time for any dramatic improvements in my skills, so to speak. And to tell you the truth, though I've heard other people mention what you're saying, I've never found it to be the case, not for me at least. My written word abilities are pretty solid. But I also know every time I look at something I can improve it in some way. Therefore letting go is hard if not foolish.
     
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  4. Not the Territory

    Not the Territory Contributor Contributor

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    Don't get me wrong, I strongly believe in the importance of revision. That said I also believe it's possible to do too much.

    IMO the final spell is the personal relationship you have with imperfection—the point where all remaining flaws are minute enough for you to ship it even though you're fully aware of them. There is a degree of roughness that is vital to texture. Only you can decide if the work is still lounging in mediocrity or instead close to overcooked.
     
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