I think I see a light at the end of this tunnel, but wonder if I’m actually hallucinating.
I can tinker endlessly with a story, spend hours on a single sentence searching out better words. I usually get around this by setting time limits, and deadlines. I will ALWAYS find something wrong, and there will always be something that can be fixed. Storylines are endlessly malleable, changeable, fluid, and I can be indecisive. I am also changing and growing as a writer, and the writer me that started out is a different writer me from today. Every time I go back to the beginning I cringe a little at the awkwardness of it.
I’m not sure if it’s plain old fear that makes me second guess myself, or if it’s the rational part of my brain making an objective assessment of my writing skill.
Some people say that when you can’t stand your novel any more, you’re one draft away from done. Heinlein famously maintained that you should not revise except to editorial order. Obviously I don’t agree with that, but I do understand the importance of not revising a story to death. Elizabeth Gilbert advises that it’s not the writer’s job to worry if a story sucks, because there are people paid to reject you if it does, and that the greater folly is not to send your stories out into the world. From personal experience, I know that writer’s are usually terrible judges of their writing, because they are too close to the material.
So friends, how do you decide when you’re done with a story? I could use a little advice 🙂