Every time I decide I'm going to begin querying my novel, every time I announce the hunt, enlist in encouragers, beg my husband to ask me daily "have you finished your agent list yet?", something inevitably comes up to change my mind.
Now, before you go accusing me of giving in to fear, let me explain. The first time, I decided it was time, I decided it best not to just send out a few queries and see what happened. I decided to do some in depth research, to hunt down agents and agencies that really believed in the genre in which I write. Thus I began my in depth agent research. While I was doing that, I realized my query was weak. Very weak and very...wordy. So I sliced and diced and deleted and rewrote until I came up with what is now what I believe a very good query indeed.
So what is it this time? Oh it's quite simple. The story isn't ready.
Can I tell you it pains me to type that? I've wrestled with it ever since I submitted a two line hook to a contest this past Sunday. If they pick mine and ask for more, so be it. I'll be excited. I entered the contest and it lit a fire under my fanny to enter all my pen and ink edits into the computer. Something I have not had the energy to do. (Have I mentioned my trilogy is loooooong?) Knowing if they chose my hook entry, I would have to have an edited manuscript ready should they ask, I started entering those edits. Getting up before the sun to put them in. Staying up late adding little things, taking away unnecessary apostrophes (I just love those things...), the usual.
This started Monday. I excitedly took out my whopper of an manuscript and began. I love my story. I believe in it. But something doesn't sit right with me about it. To be honest, I don't know what it is.
The first three books are written. Yes, there's more to the story. I have yet to begin writing the rest, but it's there, floating around in my head. And it's a good story (no really!). So what is preventing me from submitting the query in hopes of having an agent request a partial or a full peek at it?
I wish I knew. All I know is that I'm going to enter these edits. All three manuscripts have more marks than a well used Rand McNally Atlas. It's not the content, it's the feel. It doesn't feel right. Does that make sense? I can feel book two and book three. It's book one that's bothering me. Maybe I am afraid. Maybe I feel there's too much of what so many are saying you shouldn't put in. Maybe I should just put in those edits and let 'er fly. When I start thinking this way, however, I remember something I read a month or so ago: It's never too late to submit your work but it can be too early.
Should I risk sending my project out there too early? Risk having it turned down by everyone only to confirm the feeling in my gut? Risk being haunted by the "what ifs?" I get every time I see something vaguely similar on the shelves? Or should I stick to my gut and pick it apart, making it the best I know it can be. Should I keep at it until I can crack open that file and really feel the story. Really get into it. Really believe in my characters and the trouble they're in?
Honestly, I'd rather just let it go, send it out, see what happens. Seize the day and all that. But, again, there's a hitch in my heart that won't let me. My original plan was to research agencies and edit and send out queries after Thanksgiving. I'm now leaning more towards January.
And you know what? I'm ok with that. I'm ok with taking a little more time. I'm ok with sitting down with my manuscript one more time, reading with an open mind, a hungry heart, and let it sing to me. Because if it doesn't sing, it's not ready to be sent.
Happy weekend to you all!