Wednesday, 5 October 2016

IWSG October 2016

It's the first Wednesday of October, which means it's time for another group posting of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Helmed by Alex J. Cavanaugh, the purpose of the group is to allow writers to share their doubts and insecurities without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Lately, we have been assigned questions to help inspire our posts. This month's co-hosts are Beverley Stowe McClureMegan MorganViola FuryMadeline Mora-SummonteAngela Wooldridge and Susan Gourley.


Today's question is: When do you know your story is ready?

Well, this does play into an ongoing insecurity of mine - getting things finished! I don't think there are many writers who could look back on a finished book or story (even one that's been published) and not think there are certain things they would like to change. For me, knowing when something is ready is hard to do independently - that's what great CPs and beta readers are for. They can look at things with an objective eye and point out what might need work when we, as the author, are too close to it. That's what works for me. Of course, that usually leads to more and more rounds of edits! Another approach is, when you don't know what else you can possibly do to your story, leaving it alone for about four weeks and then pulling it out again - for me, I then tend to see all sorts of other possibilities.

So, yeah. This is definitely a hard one to pin down. Sometimes, it's when I read through a draft and everything is flowing and connecting together in a way I hadn't noticed before. It has that magic spark. Intangible, but you know when it's there!

Check out other IWSG posters here.

32 comments:

dolorah said...

Ah, love that "magical spark" when it happens. Even after I hit submit, I'm always sure there is something I'm missing. Frustrating, lol.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Nick - I can see the difficulties ... I guess at some stage you need to let go. Cheers Hilary

Suzanne Furness said...

It's a tough one isn't it? Probably because we put so much into our writing and then we have to let it go and put it in the hands of others.

JeffO said...

I think I've seen it summed up along the lines of "When all you are doing to your manuscript is taking out a comma in the morning, and putting it back in in the afternoon." Knowing when it's ready is tricky, and it's certainly heart-in-mouth time when you're about to send it along to someone else, whether that's a beta, an agent, or the world at large.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Yes, it's hard to know when to say you're done. I suppose with time and more manuscripts, you get experience in knowing you've done enough and got enough reader feedback.

Jennifer Hawes said...

It's so important to walk away for a while. Let the story breathe, then get back at it!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yeah, even once it's published, there are things we'd like to change. I think that's just a given and we have to accept it.

betty said...

That would be hard to know when it is ready and done. I fear I would keep wanting to hold onto the writing wondering what else I could add to it.

Betty

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I love that moment when it feels like everything has come together and you just know it's time to get that story out there. :)

Julie Flanders said...

Magical spark is a great way to put it. A feeling like no other. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

All we can do is hope for that magical spark.

The Cynical Sailor said...

I like that term "magic spark" too. Hopefully, one day I experience it :-)

L.G. Keltner said...

Yeah, I've found myself wishing I could change certain things after a story has been published, but that's part of being a writer. If we never let a story go, we couldn't move on to our next project.

Christine Rains said...

Yes, a magic spark! I rely a lot on my CPs to tell me to stop nitpicking at a story.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

Betas and CPs are great for helping me get a story off the hard drive onto the shelves.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Yes - it's the spark and the comments from Betas and CPs, and then we have to trust it.

diedre Knight said...

Ack! I've been so frazzled I obviously missed the question this month (sigh). But I tend to agree with your answer, set it aside for a time. And it's true, fresh ideas often abound when you return.

Karen Lynn said...

I'm always incredibly grateful to my CPs and Betas! They help me in ways I usually haven't even thought of, yet.

Liza said...

Yes, the big pause is key. Put it aside, get it out of your head, read it as if you've never done so before and be grateful to your CP's.

Anne Doucette said...

Nick, I hear you on both points, on needing that outside perspective (how and whoever) and also on waiting to see that magic spark. Thanks for sharing!
Anne from annehiga.com

alexia said...

Yep, CPs are the best! And I agree on waiting a month to let a WIP rest. Sometimes the timing is hard if there are deadlines, but it's definitely my preference.

Viola Fury said...

Hi, Viola one of your co-hosts here! Thanks for the suggestion! I hadn't thought of just leaving it alone. I have a tendency to work on things in my subconscious and a solution will come to me. I haven't written all that much fiction, so I will try this out. Thanks for sharing!

Liz A. said...

Yeah, this is a hard question. I agree on the CPs. They help when we're too close to our work.

Sherry Ellis said...

Yes, that's a tough one. I guess after a lot of edits, and feedback that it's in good shape, it's ready.

Crystal Collier said...

I used to edit things to death. Thankfully, I haven't had as much an issue since deadlines were implemented. Still, the desire is there to keep rounding edges, delving into character and motives, prettying language... There comes a point, eh?

Loni Townsend said...

Yes, independently, I'd definitely never finish anything!

Mark Noce said...

I agree, those beta readers are key for letting you know when you're getting close to your finished goal:)

Heather M. Gardner said...

This question was too tough for me. :)
Even now I want to fix things in my story.
Heather

Jean Davis said...

Yep, it's a magic click moment when all the threads come together. Or the CPs run out of things to point out. :) But there will always be something that could be fixed to one degree or another.

Keith's Ramblings said...

There always comes a point when I have to tell myself to leave wellalone! So often I have edited and altered stories to such an extent that the final draft bears no relation to my initial idea!

...about my very first book!

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

When your betas stop finding plot holes? :p

Lidy Wilks said...

'It has that magic spark. Intangible, but you know when it's there!'...great assessment. It's a definite click moment but one that can be sometimes ignored in that race to perfection.