Fine-Tuning Your Novel

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
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A.M.Kuska
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Fine-Tuning Your Novel

Post by A.M.Kuska » April 23rd, 2010, 10:07 am

I recently finished the latest draft of my novel, Life of a Suburban Unicorn. I'm proud to say that it has reached the fine-tuning stage, where instead of adding/removing chapters I am just making small changes here or there. Maybe. If you could call it that. I print out a chapter that does not yet have my stamp of approval, and realize there's no reason at all for her to accept the help of the man she thinks may have killed her father. Why does it seem like the entire course of the story takes place in three days?

Every time I fix a problem, I love how much better the story is. I'm a little afraid though that I'll never see the end of it. What if I never see an end to the list of issues that need addressed? What if I'm stuck in a permanent revision mode? With my short stories I stopped when I knew I'd polished it to the best of my ability. What if there's no limit to my ability now?

Help!

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Quill
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Re: Fine-Tuning Your Novel

Post by Quill » April 23rd, 2010, 10:35 am

You're doing just fine. You'll know when it is done. Just the fact that you know where you are in the process is evidence of that. You know just what you are doing. Revision, revision, then polish, polish. As your writing powers increase your story improves. And then the story is where it needs to be, and the language gets to where it needs to be. Have faith in the process of becoming a writer and your story becoming a finished piece. And your next one will be even better!

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gonzo2802
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Re: Fine-Tuning Your Novel

Post by gonzo2802 » April 23rd, 2010, 2:14 pm

I was at that stage not too long ago, myself.

It may feel like it now -- the middle revisions are the toughest -- but you will reach the end of them eventually.

For me, I realized I was done when I got to the point where I could read through my manuscript from beginning to end, and the only thing I was doing was changing random words here and there. When you get to that stage, you're pretty much done with revising. (At least until you land an agent/editor)

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dios4vida
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Re: Fine-Tuning Your Novel

Post by dios4vida » April 23rd, 2010, 3:14 pm

I agree with gonzo. When you read through and you don't get the "yikes, that needs to be fixed!" on anything more than a word or phrase, then you're ready. I know it feels like you'll never get there, but it will eventually happen.

Just don't get caught up in the details too much. If there's something that you just can't make right after several attempts, then it's time to step back. Work on something else, or ideally, have someone you trust read it. Outside opinions, whether you agree or disagree with them, can really help shape your thoughts on what a specific scene/chapter/etc. is supposed to accomplish. I find that if someone gives a critique I'll either jump on board (that's an AWESOME idea!) or justify why it's there (no, it has to be like this because...) and then it gives me a great place to start fixing.
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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