Knowing the limits is probably one of the most valuable tools a writer can have in their writing toolbox. When I first started writing, I struggled with this concept. As a young inexperienced (in life) writer, I tended to gloss over scenes and write very flat narratives and dialogue. As I aged, I noticed I focused too much on the descriptions and tended to ramble and describe everything to the exact shade the grass grew. Now (I pray), I have hit the happy medium of enough detail to keep the reader interested and tell the story, but not too much to bore the reader into the horrid scanning mode. I still tend to gloss over certain scenes and descriptions, but they are typically discovered in the beta-reading process and can be remedied.
Even with experience, writing and life experiences, there are still elements to knowing when enough is enough that I struggle with. First is revisions. I have revised and re-drafted Dissonance and Reverie multiple times and during each re-read, I find more changes that need to be made. It seems to be a never ending cycle. I fear that will always be the case, but I will eventually have to decided enough is enough and let my little bird fly into the world of readers.
The second aspect I struggle with is when to quit. When I set out to write the Malcolm Stone story it was one book that branched into multiple. After I discovered there was more story to tell than a standard book would allow, I decided to write a trilogy. Now as I am redrafting the second book and outlining the third, I wonder if there is there still more story. When do I say goodbye to Malcolm? Do I finish the story with the third book or do I write more? I still don’t know the answer to those questions, but I am certain time will tell.
Do you struggle with limits and know when enough is enough?