When is Done, Done?

In Business of Writing, Craft on May 17, 2010 at 10:52 pm

I’m an editor; I should be able to tell you when something is done, right? But admit it, you find things in published books you would change, sentences you want to tweak, character notes you’d like to flesh out. As I make my way through my revision, I’ve stopped numbering my drafts, because it’s become a process of such constant change that there is no single, complete pass through. It’s more like a dance number. The hokey-pokey. I put my right foot in and put my right foot out…and, well, you know how the song goes.

Most of the time when a client comes to me I say, “No, you’re not done. You have (at least) another draft in you. There isn’t a book out there that can’t stand another pass, if only for pesky adverbs or streamlining of sentences.

So yes, I’m with the masses: I want to call my finished book “done.” I want to send it off into the world. But I recommend, before you do the same, that you give it one more pass.

And if you want to take my 6 week class, Revise for Publication, beginning June 7-July 16 ($169), I’ll extend the early registration discount through the 31st of this month. Register at:


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