Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Thought I’d do a quick post today before I have to start peeling potatoes for Thanksgiving dinner.

Not that you should feel sorry for me. My husband is doing most of the cooking for Thanksgiving, particularly the turkey. "Roasting large pieces of meat” is firmly on his to-do list along with killing spiders and weed whacking. (What's on my to-do list? Everything else.)

Somehow this came out different
than I was expecting.
And let me give props to the man. He can make a turkey gravy like you would not believe. I swear, if they ever shoot one of those Voyager space rockets out there again to sail beyond the limits of the solar system, they should not only include a recording of Earth’s sounds but also an ounce of this turkey gravy because it's clearly one of the best things ever produced by a member of the human race. (If you're single, you might want to look for this ability in any potential mate. Seriously, people, I just read recently that eHarmony is adding "competent gravy-making skills" as its 30th dimension of compatibility.)

But moving right along, and in keeping with the holiday theme, the writing topic I’m thinking about today was inspired by a Butterball turkey. Specifically, this question: how do you know when you’re done with something? I mean, you do a draft and perhaps realize you'll need to revise in some way but, let's be honest, you hope not. Or rather, once you're done with a draft, you believe as much as it’s possible to believe in anything that it’s done.

Then, of course, only weeks or months later, perhaps after you’ve already started to query it, you realize it’s not finished. You know this because nobody wants to eat that bright pink slab of underdone novel. So you reluctantly confront the reality that you’ve got to shove it back into the oven for another round of cooking.

Wouldn’t it be nice if every book came with the equivalent of one of those pop-up turkey thermometers? Then you'd know when your book was done because you’d see the thermometer pop. There! Look! The book is absolutely done. The little red thermometer tells me so. Time to take it out of the oven so others may enjoy this sumptuous literary feast.

Do you all routinely let your first draft sit for a while before looking at it again and assessing what changes need to be made? If so, how long? And if so, where might we all purchase some of your wisdom and patience?

Wishing all my fellow Americans a happy Thanksgiving, and to everyone else, a very joyous November 25th!