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when to call it good

darn what is going on. Camino will not allow me to type text in blogger and Mozilla is underlining my text. I hate IE so I hope this doesn't mean I have to dowload and use IE for blogging.

On another note:

I can't stop revising my first book manuscript. I keep taking out old poems and putting in new ones. My folder named second book keeps getting transferred into the first book folder and the old manuscript is redone (sometimes in a different font). I know the new poems are "better" than the old poems but when will I know a first book manuscript is ready? I suppose three years of revising and changing a first manuscript is not out of the ordinary, but I am afraid (given my impulsive/obsessive nature) I will never leave my first book manuscript alone. A lifelong project of one 68 page manuscript.

Ah well. I am enjoying revising. adding new poems etc. So maybe (I hope) something will tell me: o.k. good enough for a first book.

Well, let's see if blogger allows me to publish this post in Mozilla.


Anonymous said…
i know exactly what you mean. i always ask friends who've published a book how they knew when a manuscript was done. they answer variously, referencing themes, structures, flow, and best work, but almost always ending with: "and then it felt done." my manuscript(s) never feel done in that mysterious yet certain way. if you figure out the secret of feeling done, please do pass it on.

sorry about the trouble you're having with formatting.

Anonymous said…
Hey E & M,

I might be one of those mysterious people that Evie says says things like "you just know it's done." Though, honestly, I was lying (smile.) The struggle to figure out when something is done is tough. I have two and 3/4 manuscripts currently; two are "done"; the other is in progress. What happened with both of the first two is that, after awhile of tinkering on them, I decided that I would do one last "major" "big" revision and call it done. Whatever came out of that push would be the book. It was a more or less arbitrary decision each time.

Thinking of those two manuscripts as "done" was crucial for me though. It allowed me to move on to other things, start other projects, and forget about manuscripts and poems that I'd spent three years each thinking about.

I don't believe a manuscript is ever "perfect" or "done"; at best a manuscript represents/captures a time/idea/convergence of history in an interesting way. I look back at both of my finished manuscripts now and I think "hmm, they're not quite what I really want to say anymore...", but I also respect them as representing a moment of history that I'm not in anymore.

Why keep writing the same poems over and over and over (though, granted, I do) when I've changed? I want to write new poems, start new projects -- for me, that drive is what makes a manuscript done. I want to move on to other things.

On the other hand, everytime I prep some poems to send out -- I revise them. I tinker everytime I read them in public also. Some of those changes I insert into the manuscript, some I don't.

This system feels good to me because I can move on to new projects, but continue to mess and work with stuff as I go.

It's also interesting to see an editor reject one version of a poem, then I tinker, and somebody else snatches it up in no time. Was it the revisions? I dunno.

Anyway, neither manuscript has been accepted for publication, so maybe I should think about revising my ideas of what a "done" manuscript is (smile.)

Ken Rumble
Anonymous said…

I know what you mean...I'm eternally revising my first book manuscript too. HELP!


Tim Peterson

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