All Good Readings Must Come to an End

We’re talking about how many times we go through manuscripts before submitting:
I find it is impossible to tell.

I  COULD read and revise until the end of time. Knowing when to quit is something that must be learned and honed. It’s like gaining any other experience in life or a craft.

Sometimes it takes rejection before a writer realizes where they could edit more, so there is that, even in ‘failure’.

The only sure-fire failure is in not trying.

When I wrote lyrics and poetry, most were traditionally constructed. Those needed to be gone over and over for the right words, sentiments and cadence. I can’t even begin to tell you how many some of those were read, re-read and revised.

Stories, (except for one children’s story of mine), is free of those concerns. However, since I mainly write in linear fashion, I go over a story from the beginning every time I get back into it when I have left it for some time.

It keeps me from getting writer’s block.

 I can also add to the work to give myself a way to work another part of the story in. I am also often shocked how I unconsciously foreshadowed something that is to come later.

If I come up with a scene that doesn’t fit the timeline where I am in a story so far, I will put the  scene down in the ‘pages’ to insert later. Re-reading from the start, if I haven’t gotten to the work in a while, as I write it shows me where to insert the scene, or to wait, or to change it.

Change it.

I read this at the beginning of when I started to write in earnest

 “REWRITING: the sign of a professional”.

So, with my only ‘romance’ (so far), I can’t tell you how many times I have read the first lines:

The night was soft, so soft that it felt as though she were walking through transparent silk. It was the perfect temperature, warm, very warm, yet the slight breeze from the ocean made it comfortable, but all Sherry knew was that they were happy. They were happy, weren’t they?

Not up until I had posted it here, (after reading it and hearing it in my head uncountable times), did it hit me that that it wasn’t “night” at the beginning of the story; it was “evening”, for Heaven’s sake! The protagonist is about to make the discovery that is the lead-in to the rest of story.  HEAD-SMACK; the light is fading.
I am still not sure that the rest will make it intact to ‘submission state’. I recently switched the “but” and the “yet”, (it may go back), and I know that it is a run-on sentence.

I have been interrupted in this work for years…YEARS, but I am glad, because I not only gained more insight and wisdom in my life, I have gotten to know the characters better. I gave one much more life; I cut another subplot, and therefore, several characters, except as ‘walk-ins’. (They would not cooperate!)

And I avoided the above ridiculous, glaring error.

You cannot simply write a piece and expect it to be ready. 
Not at all.

If you are a crazy writer like I am and the characters have their own minds, just trying to keep  up with them is hard enough; what they will and will not do, say and will not say,  will not come through without working on the story  over and over, to let them work it out with you.

You also have to think about your audience. I made one mistake of trying to avoid controversy; the piece was too bland, or the other hand, in another I made the mistake of reworking one piece into short story, but I put in too many personal opinions. They were rejected, and they were right. I needed to rework then, because the second it is a story that too many people told me to write.

How many times do I read a work before it get s submitted?

MANY, but I have had to learn that once I get it done, and feel pretty good about it, I  have to steel myself and let it leave the nest.

About Tonette Joyce

Tonette was a once-fledgling lyricists-bookkeeper, turned cook/baker/restaurateur and is now exploring different writing venues,(with a stage play recently completed). She has had poetry and nonfiction articles published in the last few years. Tonette has been married to her only serious boyfriend for more than thirty years and she is, as one person described her, family-oriented almost to a fault. Never mind how others have described her, she is,(shall we say), a sometime traditionalist of eclectic tastes.She has another blog : "Tonette Joyce:Food,Friends,Family" here at WordPress.She and guests share tips and recipes for easy entertaining and helps people to be ready for almost anything.
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8 Responses to All Good Readings Must Come to an End

  1. Jeff Salter says:

    I know exactly what you mean about poetry.
    With some of my poems, I’ve fritzed around with them almost every time I’d pick it up.
    A few have undergone significant overhauls… and usually those are the only transformations that I’ve bothered to make a record of.
    There was one period (1991, I believe, when I was writing poetry like crazy) that I’d try to keep up with the dates I made other significant changes. But even that was hit or miss — too much effort for no appreciable benefit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Keeping revisions, especially with lyrics and poetry, really aren’t helpful.TRYING to hold onto originals and make revisions on longer works I find to be difficult on the computer; Word tries to revise every copy no matter where I hide it! That is where flash drives come in. If I use Google docs, ALL of the noteson revisions drive me mad.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Patricia Kiyono says:

    Rejections are difficult, but sometimes they come with valuable feedback. If the rejector takes the time to explain WHY the manuscript didn’t work for them, I can take that information to make improvements before submitting elsewhere.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. trishafaye says:

    ‘Let it leave the nest’ — I love that phrase. And you’re right. We can work and rework – and rework more – endlessly. There comes a point we need to say ‘enough’ and send it off. Maybe for acceptance, maybe not.
    No matter how good we think we have the piece, I find I’ll go back and look at something written several years earlier and think – this STINKS! Even though it felt perfect at the time. Because as we learn and grow as writers, we will never find a place of perfection. And I’m okay with that. Because I’d rather acknowledge that I am growing and getting better with every passing year.
    Great post! I enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Trish. Like most of my writing, the ‘nest’ phrase only came to me as I was typing away.
      Nothing’s perfect, and I figure that my stuff is less imperfect than a lot of other stuff I have read, or tried to.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    It is possible to edit the heart out of a piece. I had an editor who wanted me to do that one time. I refused.

    Liked by 1 person

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