One of the questions writers are faced with is: How do you know when a book is done? To me, a bigger question is: How do you know when to let a story go? Most writers I know have a book (or two) under the bed or in a drawer that will never again see the light of day -- let alone an agent or editor's desk. These are usually our first books, a way for us to begin to learn our craft as well as the business side of publishing. One of the things I've learned is that we should start a new story once one is completed, to keep moving forward, to always, always be working on something new. Sound advice indeed.
And for me, easier said than done.
I'm a rewriter. In the past five years I've written four complete stories, and while my first book is a lost cause, I still see promise in the other three. So much so that I've spent the remainder of those years reworking plots, characterizations and conflicts to make those stories the best they can be. Luckily this method has worked for me and each time I've rewritten, I've made the stories stronger. Which isn't to say I don't occasionally wonder if I've made a mistake. If all of the time and effort I've put into these stories hasn't been wasted.
I don't think it has. While I haven't written a dozen books, I have learned my writing process, my strengths and weaknesses and discovered my voice. I've even managed a bit of success (three GH finals and the interest of an editor). So no, I don't have any regrets. But after handing in requested revisions on my current GH finaling book, I've realized I'm ready to move on. I'm now working on an idea for a Young Adult book that's been in my head for over a year and there's a certain Bad Boy hero who keeps whispering in my ear to hurry up and write his story.
I'm letting go -- for now :-)
Anyone else have an idea or characters they can't let go? Any other rewriters out there?