Getting it Right

I have a confession to make: I HATE waiting. Having said that, I would like to think I’ve learned to be patient. I’m not great at it, but I can do it.

It doesn’t make waiting for my work to be published any easier though. I want my contracted book to be done just like I want my self-published ones to be available too. But, I will not rush them and compromise the quality I’m putting out..

As you probably know, I was planning to have my self-published book out in May. A friend of mine did the line edits on it which I just got back. There are lots of them. I could cut corners and put it out anyway, but that would be the wrong thing to do. I respect my friend too much (not to mention and all the hard work he spent doing the edits) to do that.

And, I respect my readers too much to give them anything but my best work.

So, the book will come out in June. Or perhaps in July if everything falls apart (but I’m pretty sure June is the month). Knowing that the final product will be better is some consolation. I just wish the whole process were faster.

GalaxyBillies is another of my projects that I want to see in print. Is the story good right now? Arguably, yes. I have enough positive comments about the podcast that I think it is safe to say that the story is good.

But, the thing is, I want it to be great. I want it to be mentioned in the same breath as books by people like Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett or Robert Asprin. Big goal? You bet, but unless I reach for the brass ring, I will never get it.

That means it needs substantial revision. I know what I left out of it that I want to add now. There were certain elements that simply didn’t fit the podcasting medium so I didn’t bother to write them at the time. Now is the time. So, once “The Mystery of Lake Chulala” is available for sale, I will be blowing the dust off GalaxyBillies and making it as great as I possibly can.

I’m going to “Get it Right”.

One thing I want to caution, though, is “getting it right” is not the same as revising forever. When I write a story (and, I suspect, when you write one), I have a goal in mind. I know approximately the story I want to tell, the characters who will appear in it and so on. If the story is close to my vision when I’m done, the revising is minimal. If I miss it by a lot, there is more work to do.

However, if the story is what I want but it isn’t good enough to find a market, I must be prepared to say, enough is enough. I made the mistake of trying to take a story I wrote and massage it to meet a market’s needs. All I ended up doing was wasting time and making the story more convoluted.

I should have said, “It’s as good as it will get, so it’s time to move on.” Perhaps if I had done that I would already have a story in print. Maybe not. But I do know that I would have more stuff written.

“Getting it Right” is not the same as getting it published. It is merely, getting the story into the form you envisioned. Eventually, as you write and improve your skills, it might also mean getting it published. That should be the goal. Continue to write and exercise your creative muscles. That’s what I’m doing.

For now, I’ve got to focus on making my work the best it can be. The rest will follow. I’ve already seen enough success to know that for a fact.



  1. That’s all very well Michell, but I find it impossible to know when my work is finished. I have been tinkering with some of my short stories for 15 years!

    How long is a piece of string?

  2. Hey Michell,
    Just wanted to encourage you that you are absolutely doing the right thing. You’ll learn more putting forth the effort to get it right, and then your future projects will have that knowledge to build off of and hopefully it will get easier and faster to put out quality products. Your fan base greatly appreciates your dedication to quality, so keep up the hard work, and enjoy the ride.

  3. I hear you and I appreciate the use of the word “tinkering”. You’ve got to ask yourself the question, “will the next round of changes make the story any better?”

    At some point you have to make the decision that you are either willing to let people see what you’ve written or not. It’s a scary thing to do. I know, I’ve been there. I’m always asking myself if a story is good enough. Will people like it? At the end of the day, some will like it and some won’t. Life will go on and I will keep writing, hopefully turning out better quality stuff each time.

    The other thing about that is this: if you put a story out for critique or review or simply for people to read and problems are pointed out, then you can always take another kick at it. If readers like it, leave it alone.

    Just my two cents.

  4. I’ve always had trouble with the perseverance needed to ‘get it right.’ But few things irritate me as much as seeing typos in my first published novel. There are always more things to fix. However, there is a point of diminishing returns. Eventually, it needs to be put out there and live with the final product.
    Anyways, better to put out something you are proud of than kick yourself for not taking the needed time to make it something you are proud of.

  5. So true. And it never fails, does it. You think you have all the flaws worked out, and then within five minutes you find a misspelled word/wrong word/missing or wrong punctuation.

    Still, you can only do what you can do.

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