“Works of art are not so much finished as abandoned. Perhaps poems can be perfect. A short-short story might even be perfectible, as effective and enjoyable for one reader as the next. But novels and other book-length narratives are great rambling things that always contain some flaws. For works of any length, there comes a point when your continued tinkering won’t improve the whole, but will just trade one set of problems for another.”
— Bruce Holland Rogers, Word Work 246 (2002), via Bryan Garner, author of Garner’s Modern American Usage, in his daily blog on vocabulary and usage.
This reminds me of an old quote about programming in the Star Trek universe–“A Klingon program is not released. It escapes, wet with the blood of its creator.” I wish I knew who’d said that…
Ha — love that! Thanks, Jean!