Thursday, October 24, 2013

How do you know when something is done?


Sometimes people ask how you know when something is finished. Usually I say something like,
"When my changes aren't making it better, just different."

But right now it's more like: when I absolutely can't stand to look at it again. I am at that point with this novel, but not done -- I do have to at least read it myself (or do I?).

I think I should read it over from beginning to end, which I've never done. I was going to before I started the last draft but I didn't because I already knew what I wanted to add.

But this time I really think I should. So to make that easier (I hate reading my own work once I'm done with it), I printed out the whole thing (above) and have started reading it, trying not to fix things as I go along. Trying to just sit there and READ, making notes of what I don't like --but not running over to the computer.

So far, that has been a total flop -- I feel COMPELLED to make the fix. If I don't, I can't concentrate on what I'm reading, or so I tell myself. But as soon as I finish writing this blogpost, I'm going to sit down and READ. Not write, not fix, not edit, just read and make quick comments.

On the plus side: the colours this fall are the most beautiful and vivid I've seen in years. This is me with the printed out ms. (I brought it on our walk to show a friend)in front of the old grade school in Stonington -- right on the water and divided into condominums. The ones on the other side have morning light over the Atlantic ocean.

My friend stopped to photograph the tree, and I asked her to include me. I only thought of it being in front of a former school later, but I'll take it as a good sign -- that  children are behind me, literally and metaphorically.

Anyhow, please wish me luck in either reading it to the end and making the fixes or if I really can't, trusting to memory and making them anyway--but either way, getting them made and the ms. to my agent, SOON!


Joanne Sher said...

Just a thought - could you have it read to you? That way you won't even have the paper in front of you to do anything with. Just a thought.

Praying it works out just as it should.

Bonny Becker said...

"When I can't stand it anymore" is kind of my rule of thumb, too. But reading it... I have to let it sit for a while. I just can't see it otherwise.

alvinaling said...

Good luck--and try to have fun! Gorgeous tree!

Libby Koponen said...

Thank you all! And I wish I could have someone read it to me but there is no one. Also I'd be embarrased--though that would be helpful as well: where I squirmed and told them to stop.

Alvina, I am repeating "Have fun" as a mantra. Too often I get caught up in what I should say--but it's my world and my book, I will put what *I* want to read, those are the parts that come out the best anyhow.