Agent, Critique, Editing, Feedback, Fiction, Novel, Query, Reader, Revision, Writing

When a book is done, and done, and done …

The focus of this blog has always been my writing life. Sometimes my posts have an iffy connection to that subject, but I try. Since, I have nothing deep or spectacular to share with you today, I’ll just tell you where I am in my writing life. (Leave now, if you have better things to do.)

I wrote my first novel for myself. It was good practice, maybe someday I’ll see if I can revise it, so it won’t be embarrassed to show itself in public. I started writing my second novel in June 2008 and finished it in November 2009. And April 2010. And October 2010. Each time, the novel grew: from 68k to 89k.

“Good grief!” you might say. Then, equally aghast, you might ask, “How could you think you were finished 21,000 words too soon?” And if you did ask, I might say, “Beats me.”

That would be a lie. I do know the reason, actually two reasons.

  1. I grew impatient to be done with it.
  2. I failed to write out the entire story, even though it was in my head.

My impatience stemmed from having written my first novel in a year, so my second novel should have been done in a year, right? Actually, I’d been working on the second one for a year and a half, therefore it certainly had to be done. Of course, the first novel was for my eyes only. No one critiqued it. It was done because I said it was. But not this novel, it needed maturing. And we all know, that takes time.

Some of my beta readers challenged me to explain, expand, extend. That was easy to do because I knew all the parts of the story they wanted to know, I just hadn’t written them out. (Yeah, I know, readers aren’t telepathic.) I know I’m not the only one who’s thought a book was done when it wasn’t. It’s a bit embarrassing, and a lot frustrating, but it happens.

However, I’m not sure other indecisive writers went a step further and queried at every stage. I did. Yes, I did. And I queried most of my A-list agents, who of course said, “No thanks.” So now I have what I think is a solid novel, one that could actually sell a few copies, and I have to make a new list of agents and start querying again. Oh, happy happy joy joy. But wait, there’s more.

First, I have to revise my query letter, which means I’ll have pulled out most of my hair by the end of the month. I’ll look okay for Halloween, though.

16 thoughts on “When a book is done, and done, and done …”

  1. Go get ’em, Linda. And good for you for looking to revise that query letter. As odd as it sounds, I always enjoyed the query letter portion…something about narrowing so much into so little always felt liberating and exciting, especially when that send button is depressed!


  2. I was dead sure my novel was finished, but when I went back in to take a peek a few weeks later, I could readily see that it wasn’t finished. Well that just blew my mind. Okay then. How does one know when it really is finished? It can’t be obvious. I can only hope that one sweet day I’ll go back in to take the sneak peek and find it likable twice in a row!!! Twice in a row might be a good indication. Until then la la la la…la dee daa! No, you are not alone, Linda.


  3. Sending something out before it was ready—been there, done that. You’re certainly not alone.

    I’m sure there are some pretty cool Halloween wigs out there if you pull out too much hair. Purple or orange might be nice, don’t ya think? 🙂


  4. Linda, I sure know how you feel. I was certain my novel was completed, in the sense that it only needed one more edit. Well, no, it needed a few things put back in that I’d neglected to include all along because I got lost along the way and lost my “goal” of the story. I only realised this when I started writing my book blurb and that one paragraph that’s meant to sell your story to an agent. The good news: The paragraph/book blurb are really good. Really think they would make someone interested. The bad news: My novel, as it is, does NOT live up to the book blurb/query paragraph AT ALL….so I’ve got my work cut out as well. I’ve alreayd been tearing my hair out for months so at least, I won’t be doing that for October. Besides, Halloween is my most favourite time of the entire year.


    1. My problem is the opposite for the query, it doesn’t do justice to the novel, or so my betas tell me. I don’t think I can tell any longer. Good luck on revising your novel to fit your query. At least you know where you’re going. 😉


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