Wednesday, June 16, 2010

La Fin: When to Stop Scribbling

There is that moment when the final sentence has been typed, where the writer sits back and basks in the glory of accomplishment. The seemingly impossible has been achieved. Where others have failed, you have succeeded. The project that gave you sleepless nights, that made you feel schizophrenic when your characters spoke to you, that sometimes produced a drug-like state where words trickled off your finger tips onto the keyboard like you were a tool in the process rather than the creator – that project, your novel, is done. But is it really?

“Finished” is such a fickle word for the literarily inclined. Just because that last line is written doesn’t mean that the project is anywhere close to ready. For someone in that purgatory between finishing the last page and editing the manuscript to a point where an agent pounces hungrily upon it, this poster (, with proceeds going to 826 National (, made me really happy and made me ponder.

To me, there are many levels of finished. There is first-rough-draft finished. There is adding-character-profundity-and-vigor finished; typing-up-loose-plot-points finished; conclusion-of-grammar-and-spelling-check finished; line-by-line-poetic-brilliance finished, (the last I strive for and pray to achieve).

As a writer, when is it time to call the manuscript done, or is it ever time? To all the writers out there, what would you say?

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