In a recent article, I argued in favour of ongoing revision, likening the process to adding extra coats of paints.  However, there comes a point where a novelist must decide to stop revising and send out their work.  As a writer friend once said to me, “The more you tinker with it, the more you have to tinker with.”   But when does that completion point occur?

A difficult question without a definite answer.  I would imagine the point comes when the writer senses their work is ready.


3 thoughts on “Novel Writing: When To Stop Revising

  1. I like the similarity with the extra coat of paint as regards titivating constantly your words.

    This happened with me when I was at art class when we had a teacher that came round to everyone and to almost each of us he would say ‘make it a little darker’.

    I carried on in this way whilst working alone and ruined most of my work by ‘making it a little darker’ because you are not completly satisfied that this is ‘enough’ and go on and on…….

    You have to be the judge at the final summary and also remember the expression ‘if it is not broken leave it alone’.

    Wise words not easy to fulfil at times.

    Good luck

  2. Hi Lawrence. I see revision as the continuous discovery of flexibility in syntax and meaning. I guess that’s why don’t think my work is ever ready.

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