The pointy end

Is a manuscript ever really finished?
Of course, if at some point it becomes a book, it’s finished in one sense. But perhaps never in the author’s mind. One keeps wanting to fiddle, to make alterations and make it better, well beyond the point of no return.
I guess at some point one learns to live with that extra fussy adjective or impossible-to-read-out-loud phrase. Sometimes when I read to kids in schools they read along in their own copies and catch me skipping a phrase or changing a word.
“Hey!” someone shouted one day. Ripped off.
Yesterday I spent most of the day in imaginary Amsterdam circa 1660 then switched to July 1, 1916 (first day of the Battle of the Somme, for those who don’t know). I’ve been redrafting for the umpteenth time the adult WWI novel. There seems to be no end to the slicing and dicing. I’m not sure I’ll ever actually stop.

All books are either dreams or swords
You can cut, or you can drug, with words.

~ Amy Lowell

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