distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.

Do Books Ever End?

By that, I mean when you’re writing them.

I am almost done with my revision. Right on time—I’m sending the revised manuscript to my editor Monday morning before I go to day job. What I’m doing now is reading over everything I’ve done, adding in an edit here an edit there, changing a word here, a word there. Polishing. Looking for stray typos—yes, there are always typos. But mostly just reading.

Only thing is, I can see how this process could be endless. I can totally see how‚ if I didn’t have someone waiting for it, I could keep on revising for years. I could write new scenes. I could change things said, things that happened. It could be a never-ending series of variations on a single story, all the many countless ways this could have played out had I taken a different turn, made a different choice, revealed a new thing.

Wow. When does a book feel finished?


This is why I will have to invent a deadline when I start writing my next novel—which, so you know, I will be focusing on wholeheartedly at the very start of 2009. I need to be sure I stop. Or else that book will never get written.

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4 responses to “Do Books Ever End?”

  1. LOL, this is the story of my life right now! Because I don’t have anyone waiting on mine, and now I’m on my third major rewrite… blah!

    But yes, in your case, yours will be done when your editor says so, when they put it in print. Because otherwise, it probably could go on, and on, and on…

  2. Looking back at other writers, like John Irving for instance, someone always had to take the manuscript away from him and say “stop.”
    You might need that someone.
    You might have that internat editor already, though and will hear it better when the holidays subside.

  3. I meant to say “internal” editor (not inernat)!
    Hope your work is going great AND that you’re having fun.

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