Is there such thing as too much revision?

Beginning writers beware: few pitfalls are more dangerous than the “never-ending cycle of revision.” A.k.a “when is my draft actually a draft?” It’s all too tempting to proofread and tweak, never quite getting to that point where you actually show someone what you’ve produced.

For me there is rarely a clear break between drafts. That is to say, I can’t go back and produce a Draft v1.0, Draft v2.0, etc. I don’t outline (a nasty habit I broke myself of years ago). Instead I go with my gut. When it feels like I’m making transformative changes it’s time to go back to the beginning and look at the manuscript from a fresh point of view.

I know I’m ready for beta readers when the plot is complete and momentum has ground to a halt. That means for the moment I can’t find anything substantive left to tweak. Then it’s time to get some distance and a second opinion.

I’m getting to that point with my latest work, “The Bazaar.” I am looking forward to sharing it with you.

In the meantime, I’d be curious to know how any of you interrupt the (potentially) endless cycle of revision.


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