For the past few weeks I've been working on revisions and I'm ready to stop. How do I know it's time?
1. My toughest critic (so far) read the revised manuscript and gave me a thumbs up.
2. I've cut as much as I can from the story, without removing anything essential. Any more, and I think the story would fall apart.
3. The story actually makes sense! I was able to write a coherent two-paragraph summary, a pitch sentence and a query letter. (They need more work, but the story is focused enough for me to capture the essence of it now.) I know, I know. It would have been easier if I'd done that at the beginning. For this one, I had to write the book to know what it was about.
4. The story has stopped filling up my thoughts. This sounds crazy, I know. It's summer. I should be out enjoying the world instead of feeling tied to my computer. Sometimes the story grabs hold and won't let you think about anything else. Yesterday, I spent a whole day poking around in my garden, chalking on the driveway with my kids, taking a long walk in nature. The story didn't call me back.
5. I have first drafts of two other novels waiting for more attention.
At least for now, I'm done with revising this story. Until it captures the interest of an agent or editor and they make more suggestions for improvement. I'm not kidding myself. I know there will likely be more revisions for this book in my future. And I won't mind. But for now I've taken it as far as I can. How do you know when to stop revising?