Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Another one flies the coop

When is enough enough? How do you know you are done with a manuscript? I find it a lot easier to write "The End" on a first draft than I do with subsequent drafts. I just sent off my work-in-progress manuscript (Astrid) to my agent and I had a hard time figuring out if I was “done” or not. When someone questions your work, pushes you to strive for more, it’s hard to know if you’ve reached that goal they had in mind for you.

For me, the biggest surprise in this publishing process is how little line editing is done early in the process—mostly you receive “notes” in letter form, describing overall things that need to change with not a lot of direction about how to do it. And it seems you could do one of a hundred things to fix each thing! In my experience, revision has been a bit like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. But then again, I have a very editorial agent who wants to go through a revision (or two!) before ever sending to editors.

So, Astrid is gone. She’s flown from my email to a desktop where she will be printed and scrutinized. Good thing I have so much to do in the coming weeks—stewing over whether or not the spaghetti is sticking to the wall is no fun at all.

How do you know when you are done?

9 comments:

Deb Markanton said...

Christy, I'm so sorry to hear that you are in need of surgery. Speedy recovery! I will try to live up to your legacy at Flashy Fiction! LOL Maybe I'll see you at the SCBWI conference in LA.
Deb

BJW said...

Hope it goes very well and you are back being your funny, excellent blogging/writing self very soon!

It's been nice following your blog for the short period I have and look forward to much more.

Happy healing.

Jennie Englund said...

Great seeing you today!

Will send good thoughts tomorrow.

About when done is done? I have no idea; am always asking you that very question.

It's exciting, though, that Astrid is on her way!

Bring on GB!

Christy Raedeke said...

Yay Deb! I'm so glad you're the one taking Saturday Flashy Fiction! And I will be at the LA conference so let's DEFINITELY hook up - I have memorized the 5 millimeter photo on your blog and will keep an eye out for you.

Hey Ben, thanks for the kind words!

Jennie - hope to see you soon. It was nice to catch up today.

Deb Markanton said...

Hahaha! I changed the photo. Now you can see me in all my freckle-faced glory! I tried to "retouch" them out but Picasa went into a seizure.

Eric said...

Good luck with the edits. It's gotta be a nice feeling typing The End, even if it does mean it's time to start tearing bits out here and there.

Anne Spollen said...

What genre is Astrid? YA? I must have missed that.

I'm never done. I just decide to abandon it and send it.

Christy Raedeke said...

Yep, Astrid is YA. It's the book I've been having an affair with while trying to write book 2 for Flux... Glad it's gone so I can't tinker.

Leah said...

I never feel done with anything. I don't know that it's possible. I think you just have to let go. I don't think people are ever finished with raising their children but you let go at some point, little by little over the years and more completely when they're, oh, say thirty or so, but you'll probably have to resist the urge to parent for a while even after they are adults. You'll always be their parent but you stop parenting. You'll always be the author and creator but you have to stop editing and let the work stand on it's own. My guess is that parenting is harder than authoring but this of practice letting go should benefit you and your children when it is time for them to stand on their own. Maybe it helps to remember that you are more than your work and more than your children. If they falter, and both probably will at some point, it is not a reflection of your success or failure it is simply their reception from the world. And my guess is that much more than they falter, they will succeed greatly. :) I'd put money on it.