I Don’t Want to be George Lucas

InsecureWritersSupportGroupToday’s post is part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh.  It’s a way for insecure writers like myself give each other advice and encouragement.  Click here to see a full list of participating blogs.

IndieLife7Today’s post is also part of Indie Life, a blog hop for independent authors hosted by the Indelibles.  Click here to see a list of participating blogs.

These two blog hops don’t normally overlap like this, but Insecure Writer’s Support Group was pushed back a week by New Year’s Day.

* * *

I’m in the middle of revising my short story series so it can be re-released on Kindle, and in the process I’m making a lot of changes.  In some cases, pretty major changes.  My beta readers tell me these changes are a huge improvement, but I’m starting to worry because I don’t want to become George Lucas.

The original Star Wars films are among the greatest Sci-Fi movies of all time.  Then in the 1990’s, Lucas went back and “improved” them by adding a bunch of CGI robots and monsters.  Then with the DVD release, he added some more stuff, and he did it again when the movies came out on Blu-ray.  All these so-called improvements supposedly bring the movies closer to Lucas’s original artistic vision.

Of course we can all fall into this trap, revising our work over and over, adding new material where we think it’s needed, and tinkering with small details that don’t really matter to the story.  The only difference between George Lucas and the rest of us is that he does this with all his fans watching and cringing, many of us wondering what was wrong with the original movies in the first place.

I started writing my Tomorrow News Network series over two years ago, and I’ve grown a lot as a writer since then.  I use a much broader vocabulary, I have a stronger grasp on the science behind my fiction, and I’ve learned the difference between showing and telling.  I believe the changes I’m making to my stories are necessary… but then again, so did George Lucas.  I can only hope I’m making genuine improvements and not just adding extra CGI monsters.

So my question today is at what point do you say, “Enough”?  At what point do you know you’re done making meaningful revisions and your work is ready for publication?

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14 Responses to I Don’t Want to be George Lucas

  1. It has been my experience that trusting your gut is the best way to go!

  2. Briane Pagel says:

    As someone who very rarely does revisions, I’m not even going to try to answer this, other than to say, I don’t see why you can’t go on revising it forever, if that’s what you choose to do. Is it making the story better? Than do it.

    Asking when to stop revising is, for me, kind of like asking when to end a story: you know when to end it when it ends. At least, that’s how I do it. I have some stories I’ve written that end in the middle of things, but it felt right.

    I mainly want to comment on the post BELOW this, though, which I read, also, because in it you talk about Xylo- etcs., and while it was very well-written and informative, I have to say: You have run afoul of me and my newly-declared War Against The Letter X, so if you’re choosing side in that war, which almost nobody knows exists (but it does), I’d choose carefully: it is X, or ME, and I intend to win.

    Great blog. I’ll be back.

  3. chemistken says:

    Since I have yet to finish a story, I’m not sure I’m qualified to answer when “enough is enough.” J.K. Rowling grew as a writer over the course of the Harry Potter series and has since expressed a desire to go back and rewrite the earlier books in the series — a desire I hope she never fulfills. One of the reasons my first story has taken nearly five years to write is because as my writing keep improves, I’m always going back and fixing earlier chapters.

    I think as long as you keep your writing tight, there’s nothing wrong with redoing some of your earlier stories. Just make sure you’re not adding extraneous stuff like Lucas did.

  4. Don’t know, I’m still in the cycle but I’m reading what everyone else has to say! *sigh*

  5. Cathy Keaton says:

    I always say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    People look at their own creations and always see flaws in them that others simply do not. You should gauge the way your stories have been embraced by others. If a lot of people are in love and have joyfully accepted your work, then making changes will upset them. I say don’t run that risk, and just learn to live with what you perceive as imperfection.

    On the other hand, if you are not seeing others embracing your work so much, then you may want to go back and fix it because it might honestly need the work.

  6. shell flower says:

    Your post is so much like my own today. We both seem to be asking the same question. As a writer, I guess you just have to keep editing until your are satisfied. Isn’t that life, in a nutshell, anyway?

  7. Leanne Ross says:

    I think every time I write something I am better than the last time I wrote. Maybe I will be the best I ever can be the day I am on my death bed. “Forget the last rites. Get me a laptop!”

    You are right. At some point, enough is enough. The trick is figuring out when that is.

    Good luck with your figuring.

    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )

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