From the Archives: Levels of "Done-ness"

On three...
one, two...
a one, two, three...

Happy Birthday to you, 
Happy Birthday to you, 
Happy Birthday dear U.S.A...
Happy Birthday to you. 

All of these BBQ's going on today got me thinking about a post I did a long time ago and how much I liked sharing it the first go around. Since it's been awhile (over 3 years), I decided to dust it off and re-gift it. 

For me, DONE falls in that same mythical bucket as leprechauns, magic weight-loss sprinkles, and completely sane authors. Many of us can spend an eternity reworking the same story/scene/word and still never perfect it.
However, I try to keep levels of “done-ness” in mind to prevent an endless cycle of rewriting.

  • RARE: Cut this manuscript open and it’s bleeding. Characters are convoluted, plot twists are more of plot knots, et cetera. But the juicy story and arcs are in there. This level is to be consumed only by yourself.
  • MEDIUM RARE: This manuscript has been back on the fire. It’s had a solid pass through or two. At this level, typos may be rampant and the middle might still be raw – but you’ve fixed it the best you can. Time to serve to your most trusted Beta readers (Hope you’re hungry, Muses).
  • MEDIUM: The first Beta reads have cooked this puppy more. In this level, the arcs are all in place and the major plot points are clear. The manuscript starts to sizzle with layers of detail. Feel free to plate for a wider audience of readers, though they’ll need to digest with a grain of salt.
  • MEDIUM WELL: Another flare of tweaking from the last round of critique means the subplots are rounded out and character’s voices are distinct and consistent. The word choices are spot on. Folks, it’s ready to offer up at conferences/show agents.
  • WELL DONE: The outside and inside are crisp. All but the most hidden typos are gone. The biggest changes are flipping between wobble and teeter on page 127and then back again. This manuscript is solid. It’s not perfect, but ready for the masses. Bon appetite.
Hmmm…funny, I’m starving. All this blogging makes a guy hungry. Time to dot my Ribeye, cross my T-bones, and finish up this manuscript. And when I'm done, I'm going to get myself a big ole’ Porterhouse.

Can you pass those magic weight-loss sprinkles?

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