When people ask me how long I revise and rewrite my books I say, “Until an editor pries it out of my cold dead hands!”
Too often, it seems some folks rely too much on their gift of writing to the neglect of the craft. There is no limit to how many times we rewrite before we submit a manuscript to an agent or publisher, and we, the authors, are responsible for any errors that get through to publication.
I read an article about Harrison Ford in an interview with Parade Magazine‘s Jane Green (January 10, 2010). In it, Ford recounts he once worked as a carpenter, which, Green says, must have influenced his acting since he approaches it not as a job, or a gift, but as a craft. Ford recounts a Russian architect he once worked for and how he pleaded with her to let him make a half-inch change in a project. The architect’s reply was, “No limit for better.”
Ford describes that statement as his credo ever since. “You keep on going until you get it as close to being right as the time and patience of others will allow.”
We must push ourselves to do the work it takes to make our manuscript the best it can be. There is no limit for better.