Escape from the Virulent Virus

I had planned to work on a real post yesterday, my first day back in solitude, but instead I was laid low by a stomach virus. It all started with a four-year-old vomiting all night Friday. Then the bug hit his father on Saturday morning. They flew home at noon (still sick) and within an hour of returning home from the airport, it hit me.  I pretty much don’t remember half of Saturday and most of Sunday.

I hate being too sick to even read. What a waste of time. I wasn’t able to get online, so I’m even farther behind in blog reading and responding to email. One of the last emails I read before the virus sent me to bed was from an agent, requesting the full manuscript of my novel. Normally, I would have been excited at another chance to present my work. That day, the request barely registered.

Now that I’m feeling much better, I need to send the file. The problem is, I haven’t looked at this manuscript for several weeks, and when I opened it, I found a notation at the top. Evidently, this is something I meant to change, but now I’m not sure how. (Note to self: never leave cryptic notes.) I expect I’ll remember my intention the second I send the file to the agent.

Another thing is I’ve been working on a new first chapter. This is not just a revision of the current one, but a completely new chapter from another character’s viewpoint. In my query to this agent, I included the first ten pages, and since her request is based on that, of course I’ll send the original. But I’m wondering if I should mention the new chapter in my response? Should I finish editing that chapter and include it as an alternate? Should I say nothing about it unless until she offers representation? I’d appreciate your thoughts.

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43 thoughts on “Escape from the Virulent Virus

  1. Blimey girl, get that thing sent off! The agent liked what she saw, don’t go screwing up her sense of judgment by telling her what she liked was sub standard! Send the rest, tell her you’re revising the first chapter and ask her opinion. Say you think it might be rather better but that she knows the market so maybe your original is preferable. You’re an expert who is willing to learn. You know your work, she knows the market so you’ll listen to what she says and then give her what will sell (and what she can’t produce herself).
    Then go outside and squeak at the sky!

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      1. Caveat as always is ‘what do I know?’ Well, not much about writing and agents that’s for sure but people and psychology – quite a bit. Nobody likes to be told they’ve made a dumb choice, especially when they are supposed experts and they’re being told by the one person that out-experts them – the originator of the work. ‘Glad you like that painting, I’ve moved on of course but I’m sure it will look fine in your gallery..’
        Grab your expertise in both hands, strap it to your confidence, and seek advice with authority! I’ll buy this book when it hits the market because it has belief running through it.

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  2. LINDA!!!

    That’s awesome. (Uh, not the part about you being sick. Obviously.) It’s wonderful to hear that you got a request for a full. Your novel is beautiful, and I hope this agent will be the one with whom it resonates. I agree completely with Suzanne, by the way. (Including the part where she tells you to go outside and squeak at the sky, lol.)

    Continue to feel better, friend, and again, YAY! 🙂 *Fingers crossed.*

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      1. Well, of course it’s no guarantee, but it is a necessary step along the way. 🙂 I can’t help but be excited for you, and for the agent who gets to read it. Whether or not it goes any farther than the request itself, I think it’s still something to be excited about.

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  3. I’m the novice here, so I don’t have any advice, but I am learning from listening to all the conversation. Thank you, Linda, and all that have and will comment. I will be reading.

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  4. First of all, I hope you’re feeling better! Secondly: CONGRATULATIONS on that full ms request. I do not feel qualified to give you advice since I’ve never even attempted to send anything to an agent yet. Suzanne’s advice was very wise. Good luck!

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  5. Finish the alternative but say nothing until you’re offered representation. Also, keep in mind that good agents don’t recommend major changes to a work they choose to represent. (It’s different if they’re representing YOU rather than your work; that is, if they’ve worked with you for a while.) The person with whom you’ll negotiate scenes is your editor, once your story sells.

    Of course, I’m not speaking from personal experience. I’m providing advice based on what I’ve heard and read established authors say. Also keep in mind that the spec fic publishing world differs from yours, so every bit of advice I give to you could be worthless.

    By the way, CONGRATULATIONS! A request for full is a big deal.

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    1. Thank you, Ann.

      It may be different for agents of spec fic because I know several writers whose agents have requested revisions.

      Btw, in email, another writer friend (agented) also advised I not mention the alternate chapter at this point.

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  6. I say don’t mess with a good thing. She’s already read the first chapter, why risk having her not like the new one as much. BTW, so exciting that you are getting requests! Hope you’re feeling better.

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    1. Thank you, Candi, I am almost back to normal. And thank you for the advice. I haven’t even finished the new chapter yet. Maybe it’s just something I wanted/needed to write and not really something that was necessary to the book.

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  7. That’s great news, Linda. And as others have said, a big deal. I’m sure the thrill will chase that bug away in no time! And I agree, don’t mess with what she’s requested. 🙂

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    1. Actually, no, Jennifer. I tend not to get too excited about things anyway. That way I’m ecstatic when they turn out fabulous, and not too disappointed when they don’t. But of course I’m wishing on stars and stuff. 😀

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  8. How cool is that! A full manuscript request is awesome news. I have everything double and triple crossed for you.

    I obviously have no advice on your question, because I have no experience with agents and publishing, but you have plenty of friends with experience who will guide you in the right direction.

    Good luck!

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  9. Wow! Awesome about the request for a full. Sorry you’re sick.
    I would leave it for now. She’s familiar with the old versions, I’d keep the new on the back burner just in case. Of course, I have no experience but it seems that agents are so irritated when they think you’re wasting their time. I’d be afraid they would chuck it all as too much trouble to read both.
    GOOD LUCK!!

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  10. See, if I was just better about checking your blog in a more timely manner, I wouldn’t need to be told through emails. 🙂 Congrats again! And you know my advice.

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  11. Congratulations!

    For what it’s worth, I agree with everyone else: send as is! The agent liked it, so it certainly worked.

    You could always finish the rewrite for your own satisfaction.

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  12. So it’s good news and bad news. Sorry you’re sick, I am too, and it isn’t the viral we all want our books to go out on.

    Great news that someone wants to look at the ms. I agree with Suzanne on that one. I remember how hard it was waiting for my agent to check out the whole ms. I tried not to get my hopes us. No expectations, no disappointments I always say.

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