I believe a part of every writer is knowing when the time is right for us to send in our completed MS. Like so many I have found this a hard endeavor. No matter how many times I think my work is polished and complete, I find something else that needs to be changed, deleted, revised...etc...the list goes on.
Critiques are wonderful tools and help aspiring authors, find and correct the issues with their WIPs that need to be addressed. Revision after revision, after revision....seems to be the norm. At least where I am concerned. But when is enough...enough? When do we stop posting our chapters for crits after each revision? The process it seems is never-ending. My answer to this is setting goals...
For example goal number one:
Jot down your idea or premise. Give a brief description of what the beginning, middle, and ending is that you want to express in the story.
Goal number two:
Based on the genre, create your characters, give them names, emotions, conflict and a background(history) make them as real to you as you want them to be for your reader. Chances are, what you believe is "believable" so will your audience.
Goal number three:
Outline the novel...any way you want to...chapter by chapter, or brief by adding more detail to your original summary. Make sure you have the Intro...conflict...and resolution...(this can serve to help with synopsis as well)
Goal number four:
After you have outlined the MS from chapter one to 2o-something (can always add chapters depending on how the story unfolds) Start writing your first draft. Give your self as much time as needed to complete. We all have busy lives outside of our writing, so shoot for at least one to two chapters a night or do it by pages...1, 2, 3, 4....10 etc..Try to be consistent.
Goal number five:
Okay so your first draft is done. Time for a comb through for spelling and grammar. Get it ready for crit.
Goal number six:
Once your WIP is checked, have your crit partners review it either by chapter or in thirds, three chapters at a time. I prefer Three chapters at a time, myself. Exchange crits, give back as much as you receive. I don't post any additional chapters until I've done my part in critting. It's something I try to do out of respect for my fellow writers. Try to be consistent. Life does get in the way however, and some times it is difficult to get back on the crit wagon. However, your crit partners will understand. They go through the same hurdles you do. I'm a bit spoiled cuz my crit partners are awesome and I've made wonderful friends...so my glasses are a bit rosy on this topic. Still picking the right crit partner is not only beneficial it is essential to getting helpful honest crits.
Lastly, never take a crit personally. Remember they are HELPING you polish your work. Many of my crit partners are already published or have worked in publishing. Their crits are honest and blunt, but always useful and much appreciated.
Goal number saeven:
Your WIPs is finally critted, revised and polished free of grammar errors and plot holes. Go for a beta read, for final analysis on how the whole story flows, characterization, over all impression and what I call the WOW! factor. I have sent my first three chapters of my MS, Soulmate's Touch for Beta. I learned quickly that I was not yet ready for a beta and had to revise....again...so try to make sure everything is dotted and checked before the beta. Still I was able to get awesome feed back that made my MS A whole lot better.
Goal number eight:
It's done, you've gotten 3 beta reads back that tell you your MS is the Bomb! Now your ready to send it in, cross your fingers, sit back, pull out a pad and start on goal one again....
Best of luck to all my fellow aspiring authors....and I will be back next monday...!