I’ve been busy editing A Bridge To The Quiet Planet lately. And it struck me that editing is a strange thing as it’s never truly done.
First, you have mistakes you may want to catch. Those are easy to find with modern tools, but finding all of them takes a great deal of effort. You can worry over and over you may have missed something.
Secondly, you have those non-mistakes but choices you question. This word or that? This style or that? Is this take a bit archaic? These aren’t mistakes, but are questions of best choices.
Third, you just have all those things you could tweak. Cut this scene? Different opening? Is this still timely?
Editing is never done. Ever, because you can always find new ways to do things, find new problems, miss something and look for it. Worse, if you make some edits, you might have made new mistakes to worry about!
It’s a lot like coding, only your book runs in the brains of your readers, and each reader is different.
At some point you just have to stop editing. At some point you have to declare done. At some point you have to move on, or you’ll go crazy. You have to stop editing.
I found the best way to do this is to set a standard for yourself. Do X readthroughs. Run a grammar/spell check at particular times. Then, go on.
Go on, edit, but give yourself a break.
BONUS: An idea I got from Serdar is that, when you’re done, do a bounty on mistakes in your book. Not only is that a great idea to get people to participate, it gives you a way to relax a bit . . .