Wednesday, January 12, 2011

A Musing on Revision

Last night was the SCBWI Great Critique. I was fortunate enough to be a group leader, and I enjoyed listening to six different, wonderful stories in various states of revision. Each story had its own voice, its own direction and imagination, its own flavor.

One group member asked me, how do you know when it's the right time to submit? How do you know when are you done revising? Excellent questions, ones I'm not sure I know the answer to. I think revision could last forever, if the author felt paralyzed enough and so insecure he or she could never submit. I certainly have plenty of stories that are, in my opinion, ready to go, and plenty more that feel to me like they're half-done. Would that I had a toothpick to stick into the plot and find out if the story is done. On the other hand, we all hear stories of editors and agents frustrated by authors who submit before their stories are ready and polished--full of loose ends and typos and continuity errors.

What do you think? Have you submitted your work? When do you know it's done and ready? What is your oven timer? I'd love to hear your thoughts!