Friday, October 8, 2010

the never ending story

question for you writers:
when do you consider your book DONE?

i started thinking today about all the times i've called my stories "done" and had to chuckle.
i said, "i finished!" when i ended the first draft of my last book.
i said, "all done!" after red-lining the manuscript (before shoving it into the "trunk").

when i got to 'THE END' of Butter? - "i'm done!"
when i revised and polished and started querying? - "it's totally ready."
when i rewrote for agents? - "finally finished."

obviously, there will be more revisions ahead if this book is ever to become - y'know.. a book. but if i'm so lucky to have edits and copy edits and final drafts and final-final drafts, i plan to say "DONE!" at the end of each one, because it feels so good! every step is an accomplishment. every round of revisions is a project completed. and at every stage, the book really is "done"... until the next round.

and the truth is, if we're all lucky enough to see our books on shelves someday, we'll probably still flip through the pages and think of ways we could revise. because as long as our writer brains are clicking and whirring, there will always be new inspiration and new ideas. but once that book is packaged and sold and sitting on a shelf - we have to take that inspiration and put it into something else... because when a book becomes a book - it really is "done."


Nomes said...

ahhh, i love this post. it's all so true. and i love celebrating each done moment. i guess it's only really done once it's printed and on the shelves :)

Marieke said...

So true!

And yes, after every step it feels "done" too, but I've given up trying to call it that! Because every time a new round of revisions started I had to explain to my non-writer friends that done actually isn't done at all ;)

erinjade said...

oh, so true, Marieke. you say "i'm working on X right now" and they're all "i thought you said you finished that?" um...yeah. ;)

Melanie said...

Love this post. For me, having just said "I'm done a couple of weeks ago," I'm now realizing that when I said "I'm done" I meant with the story. Not with the manuscript. Next stage, revising and then I can say I'm done revising. Then editing and I can say, yay, done editing and so on. Although, now that I think about it, the only true I'm dones (I know, not a word) is when you finish your actual story (the first I'm done) and when the book is printed and on the shelf (the final I'm done). All the others 50-100 I'm dones in between...don't really know what those are about :-) Guess it just feels good say it.

Lemur said...

I agree. I've thought one of my stories was done for years and sent it out to a few places. Then one editor who rejected it (with an awesome handwritten note) saying it was too long as a short story, and that I should make it a novel. So *sigh* it's not done. And it's ever so slowly becoming a novel. LOL but even when its finally published it probably won't be done, because now it looks like it's wanting to become a trilogy.

Congrats on selling Butter!

Naked Without a Pen