Tweaking… and tweaking… and tweaking…
It’s just not right. You think you’re done with a story. You’re proud. You’ve accomplished something. Then you go back to bask in your achievement.
Only, you realize it needs something.
So you tweak.
Then you move a paragraph.
Then you change the storyline.
Next thing you know, you’re in a full re-write.
I must admit, this is rather foreign territory to me. In news, the explanatory copy and sound bites/quotes have a general sensical order, to be expressed clearly and in few words. Even if I had hour after hour to rewrite, which I don’t, the order of events doesn’t change drastically. What happened, happened in a certain way. I can change how I approach or back into the story, but getting too creative in the mere minutes that I have to tell a story can hamper understanding.
Writing fiction, though, isn’t at all like that. The story’s yours, obviously, so you can order events however you’d like.
And you do.
I’m finding that when I have no deadline, I keep going back and “tweaking” a story, and I wonder if I’ll ever be happy with it.
Do you walk away? Do you say “good enough is good enough?” Or do you keep tweaking because you have no deadline? In the end, the goal is the best piece of writing you are capable of producing. The problem is, that line keeps moving as your writing experience evolves.
I have to set myself a deadline or I face what you’re dealing with now. There is never a “it’s perfect” point. No matter how many times you go over, revise, rewrite, and polish there will be something ELSE you catch next time.
After a while you start to get the hang of how long a project should take you and can plan ahead and set a deadline. It also helps to break your deadline down into smaller parts. With your own deadline looming over your head you polish it and then let it go because time is up and it’s as good as you’re going to get it.
At least prior reader feedback. Then of course it can start all over again. Sometimes I’ll come back to something I wrote years ago and completely transform it again to a whole new ‘best’. Because, as you said, the line keeps moving on what our personal best is. 🙂