Saturday, December 26, 2015

When Does It End?

     Hello, my poor neglected blog, how I've missed you. Apparently once you start slacking on your blog it becomes very easy to continue slacking. I've even had several topics in mind, I've just been too lazy to actually sit down and write them. But it's December, which is a busy month, and I'm still looking for some of the pieces of my brain that fell out after NaNo.

     Those are my excuses and I'm sticking to them.

     I've recently started take 9 or 10 of my vampire novel. Yeah. I can't actually remember at this point what draft I'm on. It's my first novel, so from what I've heard it's not unusual to have this many rewrites. It's been "finished" for about 2 years now. In early 2014 I decided it was complete and started querying agents. After several refusals I decided that at 124k words, it was much too long and that's why I was being refused. So in December of last year I did a really sloppy (though I didn't know it at the time) revision which cut out the beginning and shortened several chapters, putting it at a nice 96k. I did this in about 3 weeks, didn't reread it, and didn't let anyone else read it because I was feeling confident (cocky) and decided it was great the way it was and resumed querying.

     I got a lot more refusals.

     A few months ago I was starting to wonder if maybe it didn't need another pass when my friend from writer's group offered to read it and give it the full shakedown. Thanks Elly :). Well, after reading her notes (many, many notes :) ) I'm going--WTF? Not looking over that last rewrite was a big mistake. By shortening the beginning I wound up losing a lot of important things.

     I've been working on other projects in the last year and have leveled up as a writer (yay!) which has allowed me to see how un-evolved I was back then. Many of my characters were wooden, they repeated actions over and over again, the story isn't nearly as frightening as I wanted it to be, and on and on and on.

     And on and on.
     The good news is that Elly's notes have started an avalanche of new ideas for how to fix it and I'm really really excited. I want to make this story as good as it can be. After all, it's my first born child. That means I'm fully willing to put the time and energy into it. That being said, I've already spent roughly 4 years on it. Despite having taken a break for an entire year, I'm still a bit burned out on it. I want to finish this last rewrite and maybe set it free after this--for better or worse. Because of that I'm not sure whether I should have people look over this "final" rewrite. If people look at it, they will inevitably have ideas for revisions. It's psychological. If you give someone something to read and tell them it's a work in progress, of course they're going to have suggestions. But I also don't want to make the same mistake I made last year and think that I've got something wonderful that still needs a lot of work.

     So in that sense I'm stuck. I want to make my vampire novel perfect, but I also don't want it to get in the way of my other stories. I don't want to get stuck in an endless loop of revisions. So, my question is--when does it end? At what point do you stop having people read your story? Is there some formula for figuring this out? And if anyone knows what that is, could you please tell me?