Friday, August 28, 2009

Just Grow Up and Get Out, Already!

I vaguely remember posting something a while back about my first novel being ready to query. Seems so long ago…

My query was awful, resulting in several rejections. I revamped the query with the help of my awesome bloggy friend, Suzanne, and several suggestions from a critique session on Beth Revis’s blog. It still needs a little tweaking, but I think it’s pretty close. I’m itching to test it out, but I’ve hit another speed bump.

I rewrote my ending a couple of months ago and sent it off to one of my crit buddies. She sent it back with lots of very helpful red marks, prompting me to look at the rest with a more critical eye.
I hadn’t looked at the ms in almost two months, and we all know how much things can change in that amount of time. When I started going over it again, I realized it could still use some work. So, I think I’ve decided to do one last round of revisions. It makes me kind of grouchy every time I think about it. It’s never ending! Never. Ending.

So, I’m wondering. How do you know when you’re done and ready to submit? When is it time to say, I’ve done all I can, and set that baby free?


  1. I can't answer that. I thought mine was done almost 2 years ago. Then, I took some online courses and joined a crit group. Whoa! Big eye opening. Not even close to being ready. I'm mean, serious, there are rules? LOL Now, my work is a lot more polished, even in draft form, but I have less time to work on it. The twins are no longer napping, so it's taking forever to complete the darn thing. However, I have a new crit group who is da bomb and I trust they'll keep my edits on track. My goal is to start submitting in January.

    Good luck with the revision.

    Lynnette Labelle

  2. I think as writers we are always growing. I finished my first book almost five months ago, but have not queried it because I want to write a second book first. I believe I am learning so much more as a write another one and I will be ready to go back and re-write the first one afterwards. I know when a work is finished when I re-read it after a time away from it and still like what I have said. I have also got a crit partner and joined a group. I am half way through a writing course. all these things have opened my eyes to how much better my writing can be.

  3. I'm not sure there is a simple answer to when it's time, but I do know that for now I must rewrite the second draft. I can see lots that I need to do. And after hearing agents say not to re-query a project, I want to be sure I get this puppy in the best shape I can before knocking on doors. It can be frustrating, though. I had no idea how long this process can be.

  4. I blogged about this not long ago:

    I'm in the midst of a big revision and since it's my fifth novel attempt I think I'll be more certain this time. (I have a tendency to send manuscripts out too soon--don't do it!) I think I'll know this one is ready when I set it aside for two months, read it and nothing about it embarrasses me.

  5. When I get there, I'll let you know ;).

    Seriously, though, I think it's like Tabitha said--once I can read through it and like what I hear (or am just changing words to their exact synonyms for no particular reason), it will be done.

    We're so close! It seems neverending, but I think I see light at the end of the tunnel for both of us :).

  6. First, I love that poster. I think I posted it on my blog once. It is sooo freaking true when it comes to writing a novel.

    Second, I don't know how you know. I think you just do. Are you satisfied with it? Is the writing the best you can make it? Does it flow well? Are the characters growing and changing? Have you said all that you want to say? When you get to that point, then you'll know. You just will.

  7. I'm the worst person to ask this question, since it seems like I'm always querying before the work is ready.

    Crit groups help, that's for sure, and there's only so far I can take a manuscript on my own. I need feedback, and probably more than I think I need, lol.

    I'll try to get the crit I've been working on for *mrphl* months back to you soon.

    Good luck!

  8. Abby, I was just blog-hopping when I ran across this post you might like:

  9. Thanks, all, for your thoughts!

    Lynnette: I'm impressed you can find time to write with little ones. My kids all stopped taking naps at 18 mos., so I can empathize. Good luck on your goal!

    Tabitha: I considered waiting until my second was finished, but all I can think about writing is the sequel. I'm definitely seeing a significant improvement in my writing on the second from when I started the first. Good luck!

    Tricia: I think that's my biggest concern too. I'm afraid to blow my chances before it's perfect. Thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

    MC: That's what I was hoping would happen for me. But I'm afraid that if I continue that way, I'll never feel like it's ready. Good luck on your revisions. :) And thanks for the link, I'll check it out.

    Becca: Some days I can see the light, others it's looking pretty dim. But I think it's close, like you said. Thanks for your support!!

    Elana: I agree on the poster. So, so true. I hope you're right about knowing. My perfectionism seems to get in the way sometimes, I think, and skews my objectivity.

    Tere: My critters have been such a huge help. It was hard for me to send it out for crits in the first place, but now I crave that feedback. The criticism even more than the praise, I think. I know it's helped me improve a lot. Thanks for all your awesome help!!

  10. *hugs*

    That's a hard thing. I think every story is different, because it's a different story, and because the author grows with time. Time is the big key, I think. I try to let the story sit for at least a month before looking at it again. Time has a way of showing us whether or not it was as ready as we thought--because we are growing as writers in the mean time. So even though its hard, it means that you're on the right track. Keep going. You'll get there. :D

  11. Abby, I look forward to your book being released. Remember I promised to buy one and have you sign.. I'm getting DESPERATE! LOL =D

  12. The same thing just happened to me. I went back to my ms after three months and realized it still needed more revising. It's funny what you see after letting it sit for a while, isn't it?

  13. I've made the mistake of submitting too early (despite having my ms throughly critted by my awesome group). My writing has grown from the helpful comments made by a few agents who read the full. Now I'm just waiting to get the courage to send in the suggested revisions made by one agent to see if she's still interested in it. So yes, I ask myself that question everyday.

    By the way, I've given you an award for your awesome blog. Just check out my blog ( to see how to accept it. It was passed on to me by Suzette Saxton from the Query Tracker blog team.