Friday, September 21, 2007

Enough is Enough. Or is it?

Doing is learning.

I've mentioned that I repeatedly go back to completed novels and always find things to change and improve and tighten. It's always been this way for me. The more I write, the better a writer I become. As a better writer, I want to bring previous novels up to my new standards.

I think most writers feel the same. That's why you often hear writers wondering when enough is enough. When can you say a novel is done? My answer: when it's published. In the meantime, yes it's tedious to keep revising a novel, but it's deeply satisfying to keep making it better.

In my last post, I mentioned wanting a stronger paranormal element in my next novel, and I promised to discuss how editing STRUCK made me realize that. The conclusion was based on several scenes I deleted in my last edit. The scenes were all actively paranormal. They were all vivid and visual and unique from one another, but their overall purpose was the same. They all foretold something that didn't need any more foretelling. They didn't move the story forward, so I deleted them. Focuses within the affected chapters shifted to accommodate the scene removals, the shifts in focus trickled through the rest of the story, and the novel is better.

Making the novel better is a good result, of course, but probably because it irked me to delete scenes I liked so much, I tried to understand why I'd written them in the first place. My initial conclusion was that there wasn't a big enough paranormal element in STRUCK to satisfy me as a writer, so I kept sticking in unneeded paranormal scenes. Made sense when I wrote the last post, but know what? I was wrong. I looked at the novel as a whole again, and I'm completely satisfied with the mix of scenes. There are plenty of dynamically paranormal ones.

So why did I write those unnecessary scenes and leave them in the novel through so many edits? I don't know. And I no longer feel a need to keep analyzing reasons. It's fixed, I'm delighted with the novel, and I'm moving on. STRUCK is done...for now.