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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Monday, February 4, 2013

Is it finished?

How do you know when the editing is finished? For me it never is until I realize that the changes I'm making are superfluous and picayune. We all need to be able to let our baby go, to let the finished product find it's way in this world of books and writing and work on the next project! Could it be better? probably, but there is the law of diminishing returns. I know this is difficult from personal experience and have found myself depressed after completing a project. The Wolf Moon is the last one of the series--just to write that makes me feel weird. I started the sequel, Valley of the Moon, a year and a half ago but since the protagonist comes directly from the trilogy and has taken a different shape, I have a LOT of work ahead of me!

Lately my yoga class has been focusing on the 3rd chakra, the hara, where our creative juices are born. This chakra is yellow, the color of the sun, and is represented by a flame--the flame of will and intention. Without this fire we lack motivation and our projects lie unfinished under beds and in drawers. We need to cultivate this chakra and the sound to help with this is 'raam' the r's rolled like a motor starting up. Brigid, the goddess of fire, can be invoked to help us in our quest for creativity, as can Cerridwen, the Welsh goddess who keeps the cauldron of knowledge and inspiration. Light a candle and take a sip from her cauldron the next time you sit down to write.

And so, my book is now in the hands of Christine Myers, who has reasonable prices and can help with all marketing needs as well as editing! I've begun the process with createspace and look forward to their cover design and interior details I asked for, such as a celtic knot around each chapter number. I'm working on a glossary of unexplained Gaelic and Scottish idiom as well as names of characters. And of course, the front matter and back matter.

How do you know when your work is complete?


  1. I knew mine was done when I couldn't bear to look at it anymore. When I hated it and had to talk myself out of tossing it in the dumpster. Could have made it better, but the whole thing seemed so awful that working on it more wasn't a choice. It was either publish or stick it in a box in a closet.
    But I also knew from experience that I always come to this point with my writing. Down the road I'll look at it and see it objectively, with strengths and weaknesses. Just . . . not right now. :)

  2. btw congratulations! And thanks for the ideas about honoring Brigid and Cerridwen.

    1. thanks, Rachel. Yes, I understand completely about hating it...when we look at things with our critical eye for too long they seem terrible...good to have someone else take a look and then send it on its way!

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  4. Interesting in that I've just spent a week editing a book written 5 years ago, one which had been workshopped and then whole novel critiqued by my beta group. Now, looking at it through the eyes of a 'complete' stranger and five years of skill development later, I can see it is still a good book (imo) but there was so much needed doing to it I hadn't noticed before. So, to answer your question, if you ever have that luxury, let it and yourself mature for a time before that final edit. But never stop writing.

    1. thanks for the comment, Mike--and glad you're taking the time to work on something that you put away...I would imagine you are a harsh critic when editing your own work--remember, as Dean Wesley Smith says, to stay in creative rather than judgmental mode...I don't have the time to let myself mature anymore since I'm reaching the sell by date...I have noticed, however, that the writing improves with each succeeding book...

  5. That last sentence is important, Nikki. Always move on. The only reason I was revisiting this particular book was that Tor UK had open submissions for a particular word count and this was the only one I had. When I looked at it again I saw the possibilities and where it needed changing.

    On to other things. You are in the marketing stage at present. I just wondered whether this might be of use and any links in it.

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