Cookfire Week to finish with dessert over the weekend with the world's easiest campfire cobbler and my apple pie reimagining.
But first--a writerly update and musing. I have a date with the coffee shop tomorrow morning to start the next project (and to eat something pumpkin-y, I think--can one hurry the arrival of fall by eating more pumpkin items?). I'm excited, I'm so happy to return to this character (I'll admit--she's my favorite of any character I've created), and I'm a mite trepidatious, too. You see, I have a rule that I don't have more than one project going at a time. If I do that, I've a tendency to never finish anything. So, I imagined myself with a strict, one-project-at-a-go policy. I wasn't "allowed" to start December until I was querying Linden Hall--and when it became clear to me that Linden (at least as I imagined her--and I liked how I imagined her--and that's another post on another topic) wouldn't get off the ground, well, December was over halfway done. Seems a good system.
So--by starting a new project, I'm saying it's time to throw December into the pool and see if she can get by without an inner tube. That's kind of scary. And I started to wonder--does one come to a place that the manuscript is at the edge of a precipice, and it doesn't matter how many grammar glitches you catch, or scenes you cut, or polishes you make (and, oh, I have--how many purple pens must one go through?)--it either has wings, or it doesn't? It is, or it isn't? Linden wasn't--not without a huge reimagining of what I wanted the finished piece to be. And, aside from the publishing bit, I had done everything I wanted to with that piece. I was willing to leave it rather than tear it apart and turn it into something else. (And that favorite character? Gleaned from Linden Hall.)
Essentially: Is there a point at which revision won't get a work anywhere? That the concept is either good or not workable? Sink or swim?
We read about agents requesting revise and resubmits, and about the editorial letters authors receive when their work is picked up by a publisher. So, clearly, there are pieces out there that aren't there yet, but have the potential to be turned into something remarkable through revision. And the opposite, too, is likely true--that there are manuscripts that, for what they are, are revised to perfection, but that perfection isn't going anywhere. The work has no wings. It's going to fall off that precipice, not fly.
All this to say--I'm at the point of sink-or-swim with December. Do you feel like a work hits a sink-or-swim point? Or is there always room for improvement? For some works, but not others?
And where are you at with your projects, writerly or otherwise? Starting anything new with the arrival of fall? Most importantly, are you drinking or eating pumpkin-y things? I've decided we can hurry the arrival of autumn by doing so, but we'll all need work together!