Monday, January 16, 2012

Putting on a spit-shine

Knowing when to put down your brush is one of the hardest thing to determine. When another brush stroke will detract rather than add is hard to distinguish - there is such a thing as too refined. Take Van Gogh; do you think if he revised each bluntly-applied stroke, would the final painting look as good? It would lose the impressionistic aspect that makes his work so appealing - it would look like any other painting. However, knowing that you still need to revise your work is just as hard. At what point do you define something as done?

Is it at the point that you no longer find something to criticize or is it when the rest of the world thinks it's fine even if you don't? I'm not sure. All I know is that when I revise my work it is better. Maybe at some point any change or addition will no longer be an improvement but I have yet to reach that point. I think if I am not careful I could get into an infinite loop. I hate unnecessary iterations in my code so it seems logical that I should have a predefined limit on the number of iterations I can take when revising and tweaking.

That's it. That will fix the situation I find myself in.

Now all I need to define is what my limit actually is. I can't simply define a number - a limit needs to be defined relative to context; relative to the complexity and subjectivity. Grammer Grammar and spelling should be easy to limit. Revising punctuation: trickier. Story arcs? Pacing? Plot holes? Dialogue? Character development? Factual accuracy?

...this will probably take a few revisions before I can define a steadfast set of rules.