Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Revisions, Revisions, Revisions

As I've written before, I'm in the middle of trying to gain permission from some businesses to use their name in my novel, Akeldama.  There have been a few obstacles along the way, but nothing that's a showstopper.  However, looking for brand name products at discount prices isn't the only thing that's been going on.

In making sure I don't use someone's stuff without permission, I've gone back and re-read the novel.  Each chapter gets excruciating attention, similar to when I was editing.  Let's remember, though, that this is supposedly a "finished" novel.  Therefore, imagine my surprise when I found that there were still pieces that I could improve on(I know - SHOCKING!).

Nothing in all this mess is a big deal.  It's more like tweaks here and there, but that doesn't mean it's not a little disconcerting to figure out.  It has taught me one hell of a lesson in humility, as well as the limits of what I think I can do.

I also wonder just how much is necessary.  What I mean is that I believe there's a point at which you simply have to have faith in what you've written.  I could probably stick Akeldama in a drawer for two or three months, come back, and find stuff that I can revise every single time, but does it make a big enough difference in quality to make it worth the chore?  At what point are things "good enough?"

Truthfully, if I wasn't scouring the book to search for potential lawsuit bait, I wouldn't be diving back in.  Once you reach a certain threshold, you just have to let the work speak on its own merits.  Still, as long as I'm going through it anyway, I might as well make the adjustments I find.

There are a few changes that will be necessary and require more than a word change.  A few businesses haven't given me permission to use their names, so a setting or two will have to change.  Again, no big deal, but still enough of a chore to make it a pain in the ass.  Those sections will have to be run through the wringer again prior to publication in May 2016(shameless plug - get on my distro list prior, and the hardcopy will be about 25-ish% off).

I think we can always get better, and we should take advantage when the opportunity presents itself.  On the other hand, there comes a point at which it becomes nitpicky.  When you're at an 85% solution, is the last 15% worth the effort expended?  I don't want to sound like I'm settling, but I have to ask how many more hours make the prose substantially better?  Will anyone notice, or will it draw in any more customers?

In the end, I think the answer lies within each of us.  How happy are you with what you've written?  If you feel it needs work, it probably does.  But if you feel the juice isn't worth the squeeze, then it's probably time to stop obsessing.  Only you can answer this conundrum.

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