Knowing When a Story is Done


How do you know when a story is done?

That is a question that all writers must face. There’s the old saying that a story is never done, it’s just abandoned. And that’s true to a point. You can always tweak something. But at some point, we do have to figure out when it’s time to “abandon the story.”

For me, the story’s not finished if I’m still making major changes. Like if I have a major plot hole to fix. Or I need to flesh out character descriptions or setting. Or if I’m still dealing with character motivation or backstory.

It’s when I start just dealing with minor things in the manuscript—removing a comma here and changing a word there—that it’s time to let the story take to its own wings and fly.

Your Turn

What about you, writer friends? How do you know when your story is done? Let me know in the comments.

#WriterFriendsChallenge is a monthly challenge hosted @susanleighneedham & @thatsarahelynn on Instagram.

7 thoughts on “Knowing When a Story is Done

  1. It’s so hard to know. I think everything is done, then someone in the critique group points something out, and I’m back at it. I heard an author talk about a big bestseller he had, and he was mad that he couldn’t still fix things. I think abandoned is the right word.


  2. I think it’s (almost) done when your critique partners only comment on minor stuff like word choice or commas. But… your story can always get stronger… So, send it out and cross your fingers. And then… R &R. Oops, let’s restart.


  3. I agree, it’s very hard to let go. If you’ve got to the point when you are polishing sentences, rather than changing scenes, it seems like a good time. It does help if you have a reliable critique partner, and leaving it aside and going on to something new before revisiting might also help.

    Liked by 1 person

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