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?