I have two chapters of Sanguine edited and they suck. This thing is definitely headed for a second run through before it gets to my beta readers – or maybe I should just do one and let them tell me how much it sucks before I spend more time on it.
Okay, okay. Maybe it doesn’t suck. I do tend to be my own worst critic.
Part of it, I think, comes from looking at the way other writers write – their sentence structure, their way of presenting the story, their word choices… I constantly have to stop and remind myself that I am not them, that their voices are not mine. Of course my writing is going to be different than theirs – I am not them.
That fails to make me think that it doesn’t suck, though.
And then I tell myself that it’s not going to be as good as [insert your favorite novel or author here] because they had a lot more experience (and usually professional editors). But just because it’s not as good as _____ doesn’t mean that it’s bad.
And part of it is that this is the first edit of the story. It’s going to suck. It’s going to suck a little less than it did before I sat down with the printout and the red pen, but it’s still going to suck, especially since my main focus in this go-round is to check for continuity and consistency, and to get rid of the notes I’ve left for myself.
Once I have done those things I’ll go over it again and try to poke and prod it into something passable enough to show to beta readers.
And while it’s out I’ll poke and prod at some more because it will never be good enough, will never be done.
In a creative writing class that I took, our final project was to prepare a portfolio of our works from the semester. Along with that portfolio we had to write an “Artist’s Statement” that told a little bit about what we were including and why we were including it, thoughts about the class, etc. As part of my Artist’s Statement I asked if there was such a thing as a final draft. In the margin my prof wrote “No!” (and a smiley face).
And apparently this problem of no such thing as a final draft has been around for centuries:
“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
Who am I to argue with DaVinci?