This is topic Kris Rusch on Perfection in forum Open Discussions About Writing at Hatrack River Writers Workshop.

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Posted by andersonmcdonald (Member # 8641) on :
Great article. Just wanted to share.
Posted by axeminister (Member # 8991) on :
Thanks for the post. Appreciated.
I like this one the best:
I’m not going to try to invalidate their reading experience by “improving” on it. I might take out the thing that they love.
Han fired first.

Posted by andersonmcdonald (Member # 8641) on :
Good point
Posted by MartinV (Member # 5512) on :
That it is.
Posted by rcmann (Member # 9757) on :
Pretty hard not to obsess about wanting to reach perfection though, when you have absolutely no idea what the hell the editor is looking for. Or is not looking for.
Posted by MAP (Member # 8631) on :
I'm not buying this. I know a lot of people who are just readers, and they can tear down a book as easily as any writer. Most avid readers want a good story. If you don't give them some level of quality, you are not going to make it as a writer.

I agree with the idea of not trapping yourself into endless revisions and not trying to morph your story to what others want it to be, and that you should be true to your story and your vision and making it the best it can be. But it sounds like her advice is to not even try to make it better at all. Just write the story and send it off. I'm sure that works for some, but I really get annoyed when anyone acts like their way is the only way.

There is a lot that can be learned about writing good stories, and critiquing and being critiqued is one of the ways we can learn.

Sometimes I think that Kris just tells people what they want to hear. You don't have to work hard, you don't have to revise, you just have to put your story out there and the money will come rolling in. Readers don't notice and don't care about quality. I'm sorry but they do.

[ July 11, 2012, 01:52 AM: Message edited by: MAP ]
Posted by MartinV (Member # 5512) on :
I think her main idea is to promote confidence in writers.
Posted by Jess (Member # 9742) on :
I think her article makes sense. If you've ever been caught up in the have-to-edit-to-make-it-perfect-cycle, this is good advice.
I have a story that is in its 12th draft. I sent it to my crit group for a second time. One of my crit partners spent a hour on the first ten pages. she had 149 comments in 40 pages. One of my friends who edits professionally said that was being way to nitpicky, especially on a second pass through. When it comes down to it, if you are quibbling over the microscopic things, then maybe it's time to be done and let that manuscript free. Anyone can find something wrong with anything. If you or your crit partners go into it in nit pick mode, they will find everything wrong with it. If you remain in nitpick mode, you'll never get anywhere. or worse, you'll nitpick your story to death.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
"The perfect is the enemey of the good." Or does Kris Rusch say that somewhere and I missed it in my quick skim?

I've been trying to cut down on some of my nitpicky revisions, but now that I've gotten into the habit, it isn't easy.
Posted by axeminister (Member # 8991) on :
she had 149 comments in 40 pages.
Jess, I've had critters do this to me, and I fear, early on, I may have done the same. But I've since learned to choose my battles with my critiquing of others. i.e. stick to the big stuff, and trust they'll either fix or eventually learn from the little stuff. Mostly grammar.
(Unless a little thing is a one time deal, easy to point out, or it really irks me, but generally I leave em alone.)

I once got a MS back with so much writing on it I literally couldn't see my story underneath. The person went so far as to change the story from third to first person and make all the changes for me.

Because there was so much - I took nothing from it. It was illegible.

Posted by babooher (Member # 8617) on :
MAP, perhaps you would prefer what David Farland wrote in the DKP from July 9th.

"I believe that you should edit ruthlessly, but there comes a time when you have to let go."

He goes on to explain more, but I thought this dovetailed into what Rusch was saying.
Posted by Jess (Member # 9742) on :
Yeah, I go through nitpicky phases when I critique too. Usually, I try and let them know that I'm being nitpicky. I'll say something like, "This is entirely my opinion." or I'll just tell them that the part is fine, but here's another way to consider it.
Posted by Robert Nowall (Member # 2764) on :
Well, probably the critique shouldn't run longer than the story being critiqued, though I admit I've done it, too. "Nitpicky" tends to be everything that catches my eye in this case.

I'll give an example, dredged up from the depths of my mind---and I suppose since I've remembered it all this time, it did stick in my mind---where I critiqued a story where a character, having indigestion, took "the pink stuff." Now in critiquing it, I wrote a paragraph 'bout as long as this, cited my own personal experience, and said "the pink stuff" was kinda drastic for simple indigestion, and I recommended "the stuff that fizzes" as a substitute.

I suppose it seemed a nitpicky detail to the I recall, when I read the finished version, it was still "the pink stuff."

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