Yeah, it’s done. But is it Done-done?

I really enjoyed this article in Forbes with various authors weighing in on when a story is finished.  The writing part is pretty easy to figure out. You’ve completed everything you’ve set out to do, and you’ve typed THE END at the bottom of a very large document.

The revising part is far less concrete.

I love that Neil Gaiman‘s most common advice is to FINISH what you’re working on.


I love this because starting isn’t the hard part. Writing isn’t the hard part. Finishing is really freaking difficult.

“Whatever it takes to finish things, finish. You will learn more from a glorious failure than you ever will from something you never finished.”

So. How do I know this is done-done, and not just sorta-kinda-done?

For me, the measurement is that it can stand on its own without my holding its hand. I don’t have to explain backstory, or promise a better ending verbally to my readers. I don’t have to explain “Where I wanted it to go”. It goes there. All by itself. It’s a toddler that can wander off without me.  It lives up to what I hoped it would be, but it’s also its own little unit, able to make weird decisions all on its own.

Honestly, I don’t know that it’s done, not really.  But I’m writing something new now, and I’m calling Salvaged done.

My favorite quote  from that article is from Sarah Pinborough:

“I find the best way to get over wanting to keep working at a book is to remember that there are whole untold stories on either side of the part you’ve written — the before and after the book in your created world. A story can never be fully told. You just have to be happy with the bit you’ve chosen to share.”


2 thoughts on “Yeah, it’s done. But is it Done-done?

  1. I feel the same way about my genealogy work. I am going to call it done as far as the McClure side of the book/website very very soon. Done enough to send the book to print, hopefully, in time for a Christmas gift for my mom. But never DONE as I have a whole list of things I don’t know yet to go back to when time allows.

  2. Pingback: Title (optional) | Brenna Layne

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