For those of you who follow the novel querying process, either because you’re in the midst of it yourself or just want to know how things are going because you’re nice like that, I still have one ‘full’ out for the Novel that Won’t Die. I used to have two. The second one was rejected last week in a particularly painful near miss. Actually, all the near misses are painful, but this one was so close to a yes, I could feel the rush of wind as the opportunity passed me by. Those are the worst.
Sometimes I truly think I’d rather hear that I have no talent at all and no chance at a book deal so I can lay all this down and walk away rather than hear that X, Y, and Z are all great, but the stars are just not aligning right now. For whatever reason. Instead, I’m told three positives to every negative, and unilaterally: keep working. Revise. Restructure. Again.
This last agent had my full manuscript for a number of months, and gave me quite detailed feedback…of the good variety. Her reason for passing was entirely structural, suggesting changes to the progression of characterization I had just flipped in the final days of the final draft. Hello, irony. Never good to see you. Reading her notes felt like correcting my own multiple choice test to learn that bubble A, which I had originally picked then scrubbed out with my eraser at the last second, was in fact the right answer.
Of course, this is only one agent’s opinion, and so I carry on. If you’re a novel writer, you know how much each and every draft draws out of me, how little I have left at the end of the day for my family, my friends, my own emotional headspace. You know how much effort it is, brick by brick, each one with the ability to sink you. In the meantime, I keep treading water. If you’re here too, give me a wave.