Enough Is Enough?

I’ve changed the title of this post several times. Each time I thought I captured the essence of what I’m trying to say, but this is my favourite. I attribute that fact to the youtube video I managed to find from one of my favourite shows; Will And Grace.

The clip is only nine seconds long but enough really is enough by the time you make it that far.

So what am I talking about?

Editing of course. That horrible little bug bear that drives all of us crazy. You know what I’m talking about. You refine and correct and rewrite and restructure and pare down and tighten, all the while thinking; ‘when will I know when I’m done?’

This is heavy in my mind right now. As the deadline for HarperVoyager creeps closer and all the feedback starts to roll in, I have to decide on my final edits. [Aside; the response to my call for Betas has been amazing. Thank you, all, so very, very much, for your constructive words and kind comments. Your understanding has been brilliant and the speed you’ve all come back to me boggles the mind. You’re all awesome and I’m indebted to you. Please let me know if I can ever return the favour!]

If you’ve ever read the SORB page, then you’ll know that I’ve been writing this novel for almost half my life. It started as something so small and simple and has evolved into a major part of my writing life. I always come back to this novel, even after promising myself that I’m done. And every time I come back to it, there are changes. I can honestly say that recent changes have all been for the better; several chapters have been rewritten and some have been removed. One character is gone for good and two others have been given a major overhaul. Clunky, pointless scenes have been streamlined. Dialogue has been punched up. Naught adverbs and pointless verbiage has been given the old heave ho. But is it enough? How will I ever know?

If I’m waiting for validation in the form of an agent/publisher, I’ll be searching and waiting for the rest of my life. Possibly. I could be that this novel is never picked up and then what? Will I just keep editing it forever?

bird and little chicks in nest from OpenClipArtObviously that’s just silly. I can’t do that. Nobody should do that; eventually, everyone has to let go. The little chicks have to fly the nest.

I have decided, heaven help me, that this edit of SORB is my last. No more. After this, I bite the bullet and move onto the next two books in the trilogy. That or leave it alone completely and move onto pastures new. It’s sad, but I can’t keep picking at this novel any more. It isn’t healthy. Besides, I have plenty of other ideas that I need to tackle and I can’t do that while still lingering over this piece.

What about you guys? How do you know when you’re done? Do you have a novel that you’ve just beaten and beaten to death? Do these feelings ring any bells for you? As ever, I’d love to know. 🙂

About Ileandra Young

I'm a thirty-*mumbles* year old (purple loving, cheese worshipping) author of fantasy, juggling a pair of beautiful twin boys with my burning desire to make up stories and write them all down. When I get the chance, I play games, listen to music, and in days long past I even ran a radio show. Though I occasionally write non-fiction, my heart lives in fantasy and my debut novel, Silk Over Razor Blades is now available through Amazon along with part two of the trilogy, Walking The Razor's Edge.
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12 Responses to Enough Is Enough?

  1. There’s a quote about decision-making which says ‘When you are faced with a decision, make it to the best of your ability, and then forget it. The moment of absolute certainty never arrives’. I think that can be applied to novel writing too. You do the best that you can do, to the best of your ability, but you will never reach that moment where you think “Right, now it is completely perfect!”, it never will be.

    Good luck with your final edits!


    • Funnily enough, when I was younger I thought I had it. It just goes to show how much things can change as time goes on and as my writing matures.

      I’m probably never going to feel that way again, but as you say, all I can do is aim for the best of my best.


  2. 4amWriter says:

    I have read accounts by many authors who have looked at their books after they’ve been published and thought how they wished they could go back and change this or that or whatever. I think a book is never, truly, ever finished. It is a decision that you have to make with yourself in all your raw honesty. I have worked on my first book for almost 10 years. There have been other projects throughout that time, but I have never fully given up on that one book. I probably will never give up on it. But that doesn’t mean that’s the end of the writing for me. I keep going and learning and trying. Even if you put it aside for a few years, you can always go back to it and try again.


    • I hate to think about it that way, but very true. I could easily leave it and come back to it in a few years when I’ve tackled the other stuff.

      I just always imagined that it would be my first publication. Dreams can and do change though. I have to be adaptable to my changing writing styles and wants.


  3. jmmcdowell says:

    I’ve heard that when you begin to query a manuscript, you should launch yourself into the next work while you (realistically) gather the “passes” and submit to the next round of agents. If nothing else, the time away from the manuscript will help you decide whether to revise it or chuck it if no representation comes through.

    Of course, in today’s publishing world, you can go the indie route if the agent doesn’t come through. That’s what I’ll do. But if you do that, you’ll have to resist the urge to do 20 more rounds of editing!


    • I think that will be the hardest thing to resist. I always imagined that SORB would be traditionally published and then anything else would be self pub or small press. I can still aim for that and work on some of my other projects while querying.

      You’re right in fact, that’s probably the healthiest thing to do. At least in my case.


  4. char says:

    Yes, I think you finally just have to call it good eventually when you’ve picked at it quite thoroughly. No matter how many times I edit, when I go back weeks or months later, I’m still nitpicking more things.


  5. bwtaylor75 says:

    I’ve been there. My only advice would be to follow your heart. You’ll know deep down whether you truly want to move on, or not. How do you know when you’re done? Again, listen to your heart. As long as you’ve given it your best and are satisfied with the end result, what more could you ask for? And that’s all we as writers can hope for, right? Best of luck with Harper Voyager. Looks like we’re in it together!


    • My heart is conflicted! Its having a major argument with my head. I keep putting it aside to get distance and then coming back to it to make the decision and this time around I think I have sufficient distance to trust my decision. But I still worry. 😦


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