I wrote this post in my dream last night and woke up to another rejection letter, so its time has most definitely arrived.
I finished my first romance manuscript at the beginning of this year – and this is the ms that won me the Valerie Parv Award, so I wasn’t insane thinking it had some potential. I let it sit for a negligible amount of time, then got stuck into rewrites and editing.
I killed many a darling, including a secondary character and her whole plot arc, which made me feel good about my revisions. Surely I was cutting away all the fat.
I got to a second, third draft. I spat and polished – metaphorically, of course, otherwise that would just be gross.
Then I sent a query to many agents. My query worked – only one agent so far hasn’t requested a partial. My partial evidently doesn’t work.
And now that I’m discovering what’s really there in my novel, I understand why. I’m even grateful for it.
There were a couple of reasons I started sending the ms out. One was that it sincerely felt like I had taken it as far as I could on my own. Another was that I was sick of having the same conversation over and over with authors or other people who wanted to make it too, or reading the same advice on blogs. It seemed to me that the only way to change the conversation was to have some new experience to talk about.
(I still kind of agree with that reason.)
Also, like many other aspiring writers, I’m a bit impatient. This is not the business for impatience…
So here’s some advice straight from the mouth of experience: When you’re ready to send your manuscript off, it may not be ready. I honestly have no idea how to tell when you’re ready, because like I said, I thought I was.
Maybe the best you can do is put the “ready” ms away for a period of time, then take it out again with fresh eyes.
Then again – all this being said, the critique that really opened my eyes to my novel’s potential came in a rejection letter from an agent.