Tuesday, September 4, 2007

When it's the end...

Okay, I couldn't resist. Since this entry is about endings or the end or the living end or...okay, okay, enough!

When is it the end? Or when is a creative project DONE? The short, simple answer is when the piece is sold. You no longer own it. However, that's a little too simplistic. When is it finished--or released to go before the "public?"

I've been thinking a lot about this for a couple of reasons: I'm getting close to needing to say "The End" on my w.i.p. and like everybody else, it can be hard to send my baby out into the cruel, cruel world. Also, I'm teaching a class in How to Edit the Novel at the True North Creative Learning Center and one of the major pitfalls of editing is never stopping. There's more than one tale of terror of a writer trashing a good work by over-editing, or a painter overpainting, or a sculptor cutting just a bit too much. So, knowing when to say, "the End" or "Done" or "Finished" is a skill to be cultivated.

How do you decide when a work is finished? Why?

HINT: One way to know the work is finished: you change it just to change it and sometimes change it back again! Let it go!

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