Friday, January 20, 2012

How Do You Know When The Sucker's Done?

I have been revising my manuscript since November, or October...I can't remember which because revisions have killed several thousand brain cells. In any case, it's been over two months. Maybe closer to three. And here's the bad news: I know I'm not even close to being done! I have only allowed two people to read it. One read a few chapters and gave some awesome advice. The other read the whole effin' thing and gave a lot more of awesome advice. But I have plans to get it out to at least two more critique partners and a few Betas today. Here we go again!

So here's my question(s): How many crit partners should read your manuscript? How many betas? And how do you ever know when the sucker's done?



P.S. I know everyone is different--pro's don't need nearly as much revision time and/or critique partners while pre-published writers like me need a lot more. Everyone's journey is a little different. So, let's just talk about what works for you. Okay? Okay.

20 comments:

  1. Oooo, this is a hard question and I'm not sure I'm 100% qualified to answer it. I've had 6 major critiques and a dozen beta reads. What I notice is that I have to do less and less revision each time. Now the critiques are mostly minor things and I'm taking that as a cue that it's ready. Good luck :) And let me know if you need another beta reader. Seriously :)

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  2. I'm one of those people who never thinks it's done, haha. I've had 8 people critique it and 10 people beta read it. That's a lot I think. Too many actually because every time there's a difference of opinion I have to analyze the crap out of it. When really, I should just shoot it off and start querying to see what response I get.

    And even if I get this in print, I'll probably want to take a red marker and edit the heck out of it. Ah... I guess I'm not much help, lol.

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  3. I have three critique partners. They find all the technical stuff that I always miss. I usually have 5-6 betas go through it and find things my critique partners miss and look for plot problems. I usually do it in rounds. Usually 2 betas at a time, revise, 2 more betas, revise, 2 last betas. ;) Speaking of betas... if you need one, let me know. :)

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  4. Um... 3 or 4 CPs, revise, revise, revise, revise, a couple of betas, revise, a couple more betas, revise, a couple more... I kind of like a lot. Some people catch things that no one else catches, just because everyone looks at the world differently, so different things stand out to different people. I just figure that each beta represents a big chunk of potential readers in the way that they look at things, so it's best to know about the things that are really going to bother each "chunk." Does that make any sense?

    It's not quite so easy to know when it's "done," darn it. I kind of feel like it's never done.

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  5. Maybe a better word than "done" should be "ready"...

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  6. I am not qualified to answer this because I am in that place right now. My problem is thinking that my manuscript is not ready for a critique partner or beta reader, but if I don't ever give it someone to read or critique , I will never get anywhere. Some people say the more the better, but I tend to believe that too many critiques can confuse you if they have vastly different opinions.

    Good luck.

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  7. I'll be crossing this bridge soon, so I'm wondering the same thing. I like what Angie said, that each time it goes through CPs and betas, there will be less and less things that need fixed. Once you're down to the nitty gritty, it's probably just about ready.

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  8. i did an IWSG quetion about this. like angie said, when the crits dwindle, it's time! the advice i got was "you'll know" ha! but i think i will know... the trouble is, every cp and beta will have differing opinions, so its tough to judge when to quit...i'm with ya!

    hav a fab wknd!

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  9. I have 3-6 critique partners depending on who has time.

    I know I'm at the end when I start changing things back to the way it was before the last edit. This always starts happening to me at some point--and it means I either need to just move on or that I'm as "done" as I'll ever be.

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  10. Actually I am crafting my entry about this topic as well and I agree that perhaps there is no such stage as done - only ready....

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  11. I have four CPs. I have one CP read it then revise, revise, revise. Then another, and repeat. But after the four I'm pretty sure mine is done. At least that's what my CPs all tell me :)

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  12. It's hard to know. For awhile I had 4-5 CPs and they read a few chapters at a time and then the whole thing. Once I made all revisions, I had another trusted beta read it and revised again. Then I met a new CP at a SCBWI conference who read chapters and then the whole thing after a second revision. She only has a few quick suggestions and I'm waiting for one last beta read and I feel that I will be done for now.

    I think it's important to take your time with revisions to be sure that it's the best you can do. Good luck.

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  13. Wow... Previous commenters have a lot of crit partners and beta readers! At this point, I've had 3 people read it... I've received a ton of helpful feedback (and I love seeing that some things overlap between different readers) but I just don't feel like I know enough writery/well read people who would do more than say "I love it, it's great!" Tough to know...

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  14. As many CPs as you want to read it. And ones you know will give you an honest opinion. Not the fluffy stuff because you want to make the best it can be! Good luck!!

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  15. I used eight critique partners, and most of them were helpful.

    Good luck! :)

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  16. I find that usually when the MAJOR problems seem to be all cleared up (so they aren't noticed by new betas), then the manuscript is on it's way to being done enough. I could revise and revise and revise...forever...

    I'm in the same boat as you though - undergoing major revisions that seem to taking SO LONG! Good Luck with yours!

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  17. I shamelessly admit to being non-published despite my love of writing. I can only say that in everything I write, it is only ready when I read the last couple of paragraphs. My shortcoming I fear is that I don't write long enough! My editing is adding more. I'd be happy to be a Beta editor for you!

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  18. I have 3 lined up, but every time I think I'm near I spot something else that needs fixing.

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  19. I literally wrote a post about this exact topic last week. I'm trying to straddle the line between driving myself crazy with editing and staying refreshed and inspired with the story without falling over to the crazy side. My WIP is with my 3rd and 4th critters. I'm trying to use them as a gauge for how much more work is needed. As of now, it'll be a while still before querying *sigh*

    At some point though, we have to let it go- if you're ever looking for another critter, don't hesitate to come my way ;)

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  20. That's so hard. Sometimes I feel like I'm never truly done. I like to use at least 4 CPs. I really wish there was a good answer to this question!

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