Alice’s Restaurant

November 12, 2006

In Search of Perfection

Filed under: Writing Craft — aliceaudrey @ 5:42 pm

I have decided it isn’t possible to achieve perfection in writing fiction.  For one thing, how do you define perfection?  I have never yet reached a point in any of my WIPs that I felt nothing needed to be changed. 

So maybe that’s because I’m still growing as a writer, but maybe not.  Maybe it’s because fiction isn’t like accounting.  Mind you accounting can be remarkably malleable.  But at least there you can come up with a number that can be defended from all comers.  In fiction, the material can be looked at from a different light each time it’s read.  Some of the angles a piece is viewed at will have perfect symmetry, meaning, and punctuation *grin*.  Some won’t.  Same piece, different way of thinking.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be trying for perfection.  It seems to me the more I work to raise the bar on my efforts, the better they get.  If I have to scrap 50,000 or 60,000 words to do it, I do.

Eventually I hit a point where a lot of people like what I’ve done.  It isn’t perfection.  Chances are I’ll come back to it in a year and make all kinds of changes.  But maybe it’s close enough.


  1. I don’t think any writer worth their salt reaches “perfection” in their mind. There is always something that can be improved on another reading or by incorporating someone’s comments.

    However, my husband has a saying about engineers and projects– “sometimes you just have to shoot the engineer and put the project on the market” — I think that’s the way with our words too. Sometimes we just have to have faith and hit that SUBMIT button!

    Comment by Pam — November 13, 2006 @ 3:35 am

  2. LOL. I know I should, but I’ve already got over 60 rejections in my filing cabinet and I’m getting a little gun shy.


    Comment by aliceaudrey — November 13, 2006 @ 9:18 pm

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