Friday, June 28, 2013

Should I throw my writing under the lawnmower?

As summer heats up, I've been working hard on revision.

Today's screensaver presents a neat flowchart to help a writer decide whether she should throw her manuscript under the lawnmower. That made me smile. Partly because I can hear lawnmowers outside my window.

And partly because revision can be s-l-o-w, very slow. Excruciatingly slow.

So I went Google-searching to find the cartoon to share and found this article, "8 Signs It's Time to Scrap Your Writing Project." Fortunately none of the 8 signs fit my project, so I started feeling a little better.

Today's newspaper came to the rescue with a neat quote from Leonardo da Vinci:

"Art is never finished, only abandoned."

I'm not even close to abandoning this project. 

The opening chapter is finally completely revised for as much dramatic impact I could imagine. Sections 1-3 have been read and reread. The conclusion resolves the essential questions. Maybe a few plot holes need fixing, but I'm getting closer every day. Maybe I could find a few "there are" or "to be verbs" or extra verbiage that needs cutting. That's why I'll persevere. Through the summer.

When do you know when it's time to let go? To stop revision? Or even, to stop work?

Lion sleeping in a tree
Serengheti National Preserve, Tanzania (Camp 2012)