Revising Your Story: When Is Enough Enough

For those of you who are writers, you probably know that when it comes to revising your work, there is no end—there is always room for another revision. I always find myself questioning something after I have completed a round of reviewing my work. I always think of unanswered questions—gaps that might leave the reader in confusion, with questions. The problem is I am never sure if those gaps really matter—if the reader will take notice or care.

And that is just one part of the problem.

Other than questions, I also think about grammar, punctuation, and sensibility. Though I have been writing for a while, when I write, especially a first draft, I don’t think about grammar, punctuation, and sensibility too much. I simply want to get the idea of the story on paper. Later on, I go back and focus on those things. But sometimes, these things can become a nuisance. Sometimes, after several revisions, things like punctuation and grammar become blurred. At this point, I can’t seem to find any obvious things about my work that need to be changed.

That is the point where enough becomes enough, although I am very sure more revisions can still be made. For a writer, the joy is in the writing, not revising. But enough becomes enough when you feel exhausted—when you feel there is no more you can do. The story may not be flawless, but at the same time, you may not know what else can be done to improve it. This is where editors and outside readers are valuable to step in.

Though editor reviews can be pricey for some, including myself, if you can have an editor look over your work, whether it is for copy editing, to see if it is grammatically error free, or for content editing, to see if your idea—the story, is solid and speaks for itself, editors can be a valuable asset. They can point out things that you completely would never see, even after hours and hours of rereading and revising your work.

But editors are not a mandatory thing when it comes to publishing your work, although highly recommended. In the world of self publishing especially, anyone can put their work out there and many successful writers have done so.  If you are one who has no funds to get an editor to review your work, but really want to get your work out there and published, getting others who are willing to honestly review your work freely, like family and friends, may be a first and realistic choice.

Here’s a great article about editors and the benefits of having them on Writer Unboxed:

http://writerunboxed.com/2013/02/27/20018/

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4 Comments

  1. Revise, revise, revise. Is it ever enough? The longer I keep looking, the more things I find to revise. Like most, I am extremely critical of my own writing. More so because I am not a professional, but I simply enjoy writing a good story. Sometimes I ask family to look things over if they aren’t too busy. Oh well, when in doubt, revise, revise, revise.
    Thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.
    Dee

    Reply
    • barn7777

       /  January 23, 2014

      I agree with you Dee. When revising I always feel I am overlooking something. You are definitely not alone!

      Reply
      • Great. Sometimes I have to stop myself because I could go on forever. Lol

      • barn7777

         /  January 23, 2014

        I have that problem too. Usually after the 3 round of revision, I put the story away. I think that’s a good point to let others read it!

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