I’ve just read Kristine Rusch’s post on Perfection and bookmarked it for repeat reading. The subject is relevant to my current writing task – revision / redrafting / rewriting / editing.
Blue Daisies, my first debut book was meant to be a simple collection of short fiction – interlinked to a general theme, sitting around a crime. That’s the way I initially wrote it. And I had intentions to have it finished by end of July, subject to finding some willing beta readers, and their timings also.
A week into revision (somewhat obstructed by an eye test and another root canal treatment), and my book is changing. During this time I’m also reading quite a few writing craft books, mostly to do with structure, and as I input more character arcs, plot arcs, conflict or whatever else on a story by story basis, the draft is evolving into a much more aligned piece. Short stories have become scenes, the whole thing a novel.
At first I was worried about this, having obviously grossly underestimated the time the draft revision would take me, before ever getting in the hands of a critique partner or beta reader. My plans for an Auguat release are already floating above the water.
Reading KKR’s post on perfection tells me that many writers need to make a mark on the ground (look, second mixed metaphor in only two sentences) about when to stop listening to others, and actually accepting the work will never be perfect.
But she also points out that it’s about accepting the process. Blue Daisies wants more. It deserves more. The skeleton is there, but there’s more architectural work to be done before the public ribbon cutting.
So, that’s where I’m at – listening to the process and rolling with it. It’s upset my time goals a little, but I’m really happy in the process.
When I worked in software development, my job was to juggle the necessities of teams of software testers (who felt any software bug that slipped through to users a personal affront) and that of the costs to the business in spending more time on finding those deep bugs. The decision on when to go live was a joint and experienced decision factoring in time, cost and competition, likeliness and risk of other bugs and the basic fact that at some point we just had to go live.
No software can be perfect. The principle of “good enough software” is, however, sometimes a hard one to accept as a tester whose responsibility is towards quality, and whose head can often roll when high-end business users need someone to blame. When you get a complaint from a valuable person, even the most fair-minded manager can sometimes forget that perfect, like beauty, can only be in the eye of the beholder.
Goals wise – I’m aiming for mid-August now to be finished my own self-editing, then will look towards some betas to help me make it as best as can be, paying attention to KKR’s warnings towards my perchance for something I can never achieve – perfection.
At this point, I am not yet experienced enough to yet be able to judge when I reach the point of my own “good enough story” but I’m enjoying the learning. I figure the process will get quicker as I gain that experience, and move on with my writing career.
Aside from my revision tasks, I’ve also started work on looking into my minor marketing program (I will be spending more time on writing my next book), considering publishing options and also setting up an informal outline for that next project. Building a writing career requires actual books and lots of hard slog hours in writing and other tasks. It feels good, though.