perfectionism paralysis

scissors going after a single blade of grass
My old first pass rewrite/editing approach. Courtesy

Twenty-eight pages.

That’s how many I’ve managed to get through in this first round of edits. Which sounds good until you realize I started rewriting in July.


I do think I’ve figured out what’s slowed me to a snail’s pace – it’s excessive perfectionism. I’m doing sentence-level polishing when I should concern myself with the broader issues of story structure: filling in scene gaps, answering research questions, and pacing.

The root cause isn’t lacking “flow” or time – it’s terror of showing my beta readers something less than perfect. But worrying over every turn of phrase at this stage probably makes nonsensical dialog worse, widens plot holes, takes vague cause/effect into “what was I thinking?” land.

My resolution for March: instead of a scene a week, a scene every 2 days, fixing the big stuff. Let’s see if I can do it.

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Allison Thurman

Allison Thurman has always made stuff: out of fabric, metal, beads, even exaggerated fencing moves. Of late she makes stories out of weird history, with fragments of pop culture, unsolved mysteries, and science fiction mixed in for texture.

She lives in a galaxy far, far away (well, the DC metro area) with too many books and swords.

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