Is this thing done?

Not my story, I’m still drafting big pieces of it. I was just thinking about this because I just read a blog post from Patricia C. Wrede ( A point she seems to make in there is: Don’t sweat the small stuff. I like it, but made me question part of my process. I often go back to previous chapters to make sure characters and events are consistent. Often, when I do this, I revise what I’ve got there, sometimes dramatically. So, how do I know that it’s good enough for now? Well, I have no idea. The answer to the question is this thing done? for me, and I expect most writers, is NO. That applies to each sentence, paragraph, and chapter.

I try not to focus on looking for problems or things that don’t work so well, unless I’m making a specific effort to revise based on feedback or changes I’ve made to the story. This seems to work fairly well. If the prose is bad, I’ll be forced to stop and fix things as I go along. Occasionally, I’ll find myself being drawn into my own story, as if it were a favourite read rather than something I’m actively working on. These are the rare points where I decide it’s ‘good enough.’ It doesn’t mean that I’m calling it done, just that it’s good enough for now, and I can think about on other stuff.

I think the point of this rubber-ducking exercise is to remind myself to focus on the big picture right now. I can always go back and fix the technical bits of my story whenever, and as many times as I like.


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