Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This meeting will now come to order. Time to begin another session of the Insecure Writers Support Group. Thank you Alex for establishing this institution. I motion that we come up with a 12 or so step process. Anyone have some input? Maybe we can put that together next month. For now: Help!

Dear Writing Ninjas,
     First, thanks for your encouragement last month! Since then I acquired a fabulous beta reader, Angie, who is inspirational. She is so awesome at critiquing, I barely feel it! She makes me want to be a better writer (movie?) and makes me want to dive into my edits.
     So in my editing I came up with my question for this month: How do I know when my WIP is done?
     When things are pointed out, I fix them and think how much better it sounds. And this goes for queries and synopsis too. Then I’ll come back again and tweak it some more. Again and again.
     In math – it’s right or wrong. Fix it, get it right and boom! It’s done!
     In writing – there is always room for improvement. When is it polished and ready to submit? How do I know?
                                    Eva Editing

Thanks for playing! And I will visit as many members as I can =) Meeting adjourned.


Angie Cothran said...

Aww, Tara :) You are too kind to me. I think when to know you're finished is a hard question. Multiple beta readers help, for sure. If it is your first book it think it takes longer. I've been editing mine for over a year. Yikes.

E. Arroyo said...

Hard question to answer. It's done when you write "the end" and never look at it again. Don't think that helps. =)

Heather M. Gardner said...

Order! Order in this meeting!

Sorry, I got carried away.

How do you know when its finished? You'll know. Sure, you can always polish. But you have to trust yourself to know when its ready. Only you will know that for sure.

And you will. Give yourself a chance.

J. A. Bennett said...

This is a hard one, I've never felt finished so I can't really tell you. I think I fall into the eternal editing syndrome as well. Hum...

Sharon Sullivan-Craver said...

Love your blog Tara. Always good. And I love your design. Right in time for Halloween. Good Blog!!

Nancy Thompson said...

Hi Tara! I'm new to your blog, but see no way to follow. *sigh* I am a fellow IWSG blogger and came by since I've noticed your comments on many of my friend's blog posts.

I so get what your asking here. How do you know when your done? I used to ask myself the same thing. All I can say is that you WILL know. There will come a point when you've added or revised it as much as you possibly can, when all the problems everyone has alerted you to have been fixed.

I also know that you can go too far, revise too much, and risk editing the voice and emotion you worked so hard at right out of your book. It helps to take a BIG step back, like for weeks, or even months at a time. For me, I worked on revisions for a year and I just knew I was satisfied, that there was nothing else I could do, nothing that would make it better, at least not until I had agent feedback. That's where I am now.

Sure, I could continue to tweak it here and there, but at some point, you have to ask yourself if your happy with it. And when you are, you're done.

Empty Nest Insider said...

I also love your blog design! You've raised an excellent question! I look forward to tuning in later for more answers. I wish that school was like this! Julie

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

When you start changing things back to how they were in the original first draft, you know you are done!

Mina Burrows said...

Great question. I have no idea. Is it ever done? I know if authors that have published their novels several years ago and are now have the rights again and are reediting these previously published books before republishing them on their own in eformat. So does it ever end?

Laila Knight said...

Well, the way I see it you have to find a few beta readers and force them to endure your least five I tell myself. And when that's done you do a round a queries and see if there's a nibble. You have to play it by ear. There are no set rules. You basically have to go with your gut. I'm on the same journey here...getting critiqued, critiquing. We all help each other succeed. I wish you the best. :)

Michael Offutt said...

The only way I knew how my work was done was when there were fewer and fewer things that I wanted to change.

Tara Tyler said...

Angie, you deserve it! i wont find another gem like you!

Elizabeth, but it is the right answer =)

Heather, I'll have a cheeseburger & a shake please (virtually i dont hav to worry about calories) thanks or the encouragement =)

JA, welcome aboard (the same boat)

Sharon, you're always so sweet! thanks!

Nancy, thanks for your input! and sometimes when i dont see someones followers, i refresh and they reappear

Julie, how nice of you! thanks!

Alex, simple logic! sometimes best =)

Mina, I think the classic authors had it easier, fewer edits due to less parchment!

Laila, kay, guess i should get more betas... i wish you luck too!

Michael, and less things the betas find, right?

Iain said...

I think that at some point, you have to make the decision that you need to test the water with an agent or three. If you get form rejections, then maybe it's not quite as polished as you think.
Alternatively, if you can see your reflection in it, it may be that you're doing the wrong kind of polishing. :o)

Nicki Elson said...

Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Greg Kinear...but can I think of the name of the dang movie? NO! But I get at least 1/2 credit,right?

I agree that probably no one else can tell you exactly when its ready, but when the things you want to change are down to tweaks-only, then I'd say that's the point to go for it. Cuz it's going to go through editing w/ an agent and then w/ the publisher too - gotta leave something for those editors to do. ;)

Jennee said...

Good question and hard to say...I really think it is when you feel content and happy with the final draft at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I feel what you are going through. That's why I gave it up and paid for an editor. I could not do it on my own. He's a really good one and his prices are more than reasonable. Good luck to you!

Bob Sanchez said...

When neither you nor your beta readers can find any more problems. What I would resist, though, is the temptation to rephrase perfectly good text. When that's all you're doing, you must be done.

julie fedderson said...

When it starts resembling something in another genre, then it's probably time to stop editing.

Laura M. Campbell said...

This is a tough one. I think a point in time comes when you just have to hold your breath and dive in. Deadlines help, too, even if they're self-imposed. They force you to make that jump to query submission.

Ruth Josse said...

A friend of mine who had a story published not too long ago said that there are things she wishes she could change. Maybe our stories are never really "done". Maybe we just have to decide that we've done all that we can and let it fly.

Btw, I have an award for you. Come and claim it:)

Anonymous said...

Hehe. Loved the "minutes of the meeting" approach here.
For me? When the words flow smoothly, and I find myself reading on to see what happens next, even after dozens of edits, it is done.

Thanks for your kind comment on my blog, girl. And HOW in the devil do you get your entries in so quick? (Voted, BTW)

Sophia Chang said...

Hi Tara!

Nice to meet another Campaigner of course :)

The short answer is - it's done when you've gone over it so many times you hate it and it gives you a headache just to think about it.

Or when publishing professionals have looked at some part of it (even the first page) and said, "It's ready."