Quick Link: How Do You Know When to Stop Expanding and Start Revising?

Quick links, bringing you great articles on writing from all over the web.

I don’t know about you, but I could write and write and never get to editing. So this article from Mary Carroll Moore at her site, How To Plan, Write, And Develop A Book, is a really good post for people like us!

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How Do You Know When to Stop Expanding and Start Revising?

by Mary Carroll Moore

The relationship of writer to book-in-progress reminds me of a marriage.  As opposed to a date. 

Poems, articles, columns, and short stories are all creative commitments, sure.  But  even if they linger unfinished for a while, they are short relationships compared to 350 pages of manuscript.

With a book, you regularly re-evaluate your progress, your purpose, and your plans.  You recommit again and again.  Not unlike the work it takes to make a marriage work.

Many of my students weary of this.  Is it ever done? they ask.  When is enough, enough?

Some writers ask this when stuck or bored.  Revising seems like more fun than continuing to draft chapters.   But there is a real moment when the book has expanded as much as it needs to, and only in the more microscopic work of revision can the writer discover the next levels of truth in the story.

A writer from New York, working on his nonfiction book for several years, once sent me a very good question about this:   “At what point does one realize what they are trying to write is the final ‘version’?  My subject/point of view has changed several times.  When do I stop?”

Read the full post on How To Plan, Write, And Develop A Book!


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