Diamond Jubilee at Romance at Random

"The gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing positive knowledge." Albert Einstein




Thursday, April 7, 2011

Galleys and Perfection

To me, the words ‘galleys’ and ‘perfect’ are mutually exclusive and don’t get along well. Why do I say this?

Well… When I received my galleys for Through the Rabbit Hole, I thought reading this final proof for mistakes would be easy. Uh, no. Perfectionism had to rear its ugly head. Yes, I did catch typos and extra/missing words, but the toughest part was overcoming the urge to change everything.

I’ve edited the story numerous times, but still cringed when I saw certain words in the galleys. How could I have overlooked them while going through my billionth editing round? Had they magically slipped in and took up residence when my computer went to bed for the evening? Does this sound familiar?

How about the following? “Why, oh why, did I write the sentence/paragraph/story this way? That way would’ve been so much better because of this reason or that!”

Not the most pleasant of feelings, but I think most writers ‘have been there, done that’ at some time or another. So when should we halt this madness?

For me, the galleys presented the perfect opportunity. I didn’t want to have a mega-long list of requested changes, so I grabbed my perfectionism and locked it up. Yes, it’s still screaming behind bars, but I’m not listening…too much. I’m a big girl who realizes nothing will be perfect, no matter how many times I change it. The time to let go had come.

I restrained myself to marking down true errors and repeated word choice. In the end, I had sixteen requested changes. That still felt like a lot to me, but my editor, Stephanie, assured me it was not -- and that my obsession with change was normal.

So writers are ‘normal’ in their obsessions, who would have guessed that?

For those of you who write, when do you give up polishing your masterpiece?

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Image: m_bartosch / FreeDigitalPhotos.net