This past Saturday, as part of her Video Saturday series, Day posted Ze Frank’s An Invocation for Beginnings. It’s an absolute favorite of mine, and I don’t think it can possible be shared enough.
A few weeks ago, Ze made another video, one that provides a mirror to that Invocation. Ze Frank’s thoughts on finishing:
The question of “How do you know when you’re finished?” is difficult for anyone creating art. Leonardo da Vinci famously said “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” Any creative process that undergoes edits and modifications is going to hit a point of diminishing returns. Actually, they hit a point of diminishing returns if you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky they hit a horrible point where the returns are not diminishing but are actually destructive to the overall process, that point where you’ve edited everything that needs editing, but because you’re certain there’s something still wrong, you edit what doesn’t need editing.
When we’re writing, we eventually have to decide the thing is done. Because otherwise, who is going to read it? Done is that point not when it’s perfect, but when we’ve sent it off into the world to make its own living, and hopefully send back an occasional check to prove it loves us. Figuring out when a story is done, properly done, was the hardest less I’ve learned as a writer, and I don’t think I’m remotely done learning it. It’s a hard line to draw, at some point our stories are certainly underdone and just too pink in the middle, at some point they’re overdone and tough to swallow.
So. How do you decide a story is done? Do you have some ceremony?