Friday, July 13, 2012

Is it "Done" yet?

A question that keeps me awake at nights is that there never seems to be a finish in writing. Always there is something more that needs to be said, or a better, more precise phrasing, perhaps a more vibrant description, a more compelling scenario, or yet another bit of colorful detail that I hope will enhance the reader experience.

There's always something, damn it!

Sleeping on it after I think it's finished is a good idea.  A better one is leaving a completed story alone for a few weeks before submitting. This latter strategy does little to avert my nagging desire to improve this story but it does provide an excuse to submit it.

When the rejection arrives, as it surely will most of the time, the question rises again to haunt me - should I simply send it out again as is or make a few adjustments?  Perhaps a little tweak here or there wouldn't hurt and ....    No, no, no; I've too many other stories under weigh.  I shouldn't waste even more time than I already have so I must send it out and let the dice fall where they may.

Is a story ever completed or is this continual embellishment of a tale driven by the storyteller gene that infects all writers and commits us to a life of endless doubt?  I've been told innumerable times that a story is never finished; it is only abandoned. If true, that means my writer's past is strewn with aborted stories that never had the chance to be "finished."  Then there were the miscarriages when a plot or character failed to achieve resolution.  Or the defectives, spoiled from the outset.  Only very rarely is there something that has a spark that can be cherished to completion.

But then the doubts begin: will excessive attention smother the spirit of the piece?  Would any additions be mere ormolu, burying a wonderful idea  under layers of adornment that add nothing of value?

These are the questions I ponder as yet another piece approaches its finish and it becomes time to take a few out of their hold status for submission, or should I deal with (i.e. "improve") the current rejections? Do I or don't I?

Perhaps I should sleep on it.

1 comment:

  1. Oftentimes, with art, less is more. I think it is also true of the written word. I like the "sleep on it" and the "let it sit for a few weeks" rules. It is often difficult to see a glaring issue when it is right in front of you, especially when you are the closest to it. Take a few steps back, breathe deep, and let it settle. You'll get it right, friend. Hey, you're the boss of your words; make them obey!


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