Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Good Enough

When is good enough (for your WIPs, I mean) not good enough? It’s something I’ve been pondering lately as my idea well for blog posts has run dry and I’m desperate for topics to discuss.

Things that I may have overlooked in rough drafts are no longer ignored. Poor phrasing, vague words, anything that went under “I’ll fix it later”…well, it’s later. Characterization must be consistent. Plot holes are filled. And overused words are hunted and destroyed.

I’ve not been published yet. The three books that I’ve been working on for the past three years have not reached that fabled status of “Final Draft”, although after over a year of edits, one is approaching it (it’s at least at the stage where it can’t get any better without outside input). This means that only recently has good enough become not good enough.

Not that I haven’t felt close before—key word being “felt”. There have been plenty of stories I’ve slaved over, several of which are now classified under “I had no idea what I was doing.” But this book is not one of those. Years of reading YA and publishing blogs means I’ve learned all the contradictory rules to writing a novel. I can’t say for certain that GLITCH will be the first thing I ever have published (I’m actually thinking that, for several reasons, it will not be), but it will be the first to reach the end stages as a fully realized work.

Special! Magical! Well, that’s how it feels to me. So what are your stories about “final” drafts? Have you ever reached the point where good enough isn’t good enough?


  1. Yup. I have. My first two WIPs are sitting there in need of edits. My writing has improved so much since then that they no longer feel finished to me.

    I do plan to go back and polish them up, but that's going to mean mapping out the plot and polishing that, too. So it's more than just a read-through for minor stuff.

  2. My "good enough" standards have increased over the years. What I used to deem okay to be seen by critique partners is no longer quite good enough--I tend to try to give things a better look/polish before handing them over for feedback.

  3. Theoretically, good enough should always be getting hard to reach, because, yeah, good enough should be the stage where you yourself can do no more with the manuscript on your own.

  4. I've reached a point where I know I need outside input. And letting a story rest helps, too. I'm back to two novels that I set aside a year (or 3?) ago, and I suddenly have new direction for them. And I like the new direction.

    Sounds like it's time for beta readers for you.

  5. I get to a stage in my writing when I feel like a draft is pretty finished. Often, it still needs more revisions, but ones I don't see yet (via beta crits, etc). But yes, there is a distinct feeling of "doneness" I hit with each book I write. But man, it takes so much work to get there!

  6. My good enough standard is high, but I'm close to getting to it with the MS.


Please validate me.