I am one of those people.
I need a deadline.
I know exactly what I need to do to V-Day. But what have I accomplished this week? Well, I rewrote the first chapter, but that's the smallest (and easiest) thing on my list of overhauls.
Yes, I made a list. Still, V-Day sits there pretty much untouched. Because there's nothing driving me towards finishing it. No deadline, no active queries out, no thrill about submitting it to my favorite agent who I'm sure will love it....
In fact, here's my thought process about it, including some good old-fashioned numbers:
- I've sent out 55 queries. Received six requests for more (either partials or fulls), which were later rejected. The rest were either form rejections or silence.
- Those 55 include all the agents I know most about, including several agents that I would give my right big toe to work with. (No, maybe not, 'cuz then I couldn't do ballet anymore. Darn.)
- I have picked out about 15 other agents that I would like to query after V-Day is revised. I will also be using a brand new query letter.
- Still,I don't know much about these 15 agents. Not that they're bad agents, I just don't know them like I know the other ones. Maybe they don't blog, maybe they don't have a website, maybe they're kind of new, that sort of thing....
- So, there's my quandry. Why am I revising? I know, I know, people say: Keep at it and don't give up!! But I figure I've already queried most of the agents I'm interested in and they've turned my project down. It's a big no-no to requery unless the story is HUGELY changed. My story is changed, but not drastically. I could still use the same query letter for it if I wanted to.
I'll tell you what I'm afraid of. Here's a story to explain:
I was watching a Garfield episode the other day with the kids. Garfield and the gang were going to be in a talent show. I guess it was one they competed in every year. And every single year all the contestants performed the exact same act they'd performed the year before. One rabbit had a hat. His trick was that when he tapped the hat with his magic wand, a rabbit puppet popped out. Garfield said, "I think you need to find a new trick." The rabbit looked thoughtful and said, "Hmm. Maybe a chipmunk puppet popping out of the hat?"
See, the rabbit was open to "revisions," but he still didn't get it. It wasn't the fact that what he pulled out of the hat was a rabbit. Pulling a chipmunk out instead wouldn't make it better. It was the whole trick! It just needed to go.
But that's not the end of the story. As Garfield walked away, the rabbit stood there, still thinking. Suddenly, a man pops out of the rabbit's hat. A full-sized human man. He's the puppeteer with the rabbit puppet on his hand.
You get it, right? The greatest trick in the world was right in front of their faces the whole time. But they couldn't see it.
There are two ways this analogy could work for me:
- Stop revising V-Day. It's basically the same story. Just accept that no one's interested.
- You might be close to the greatest novel of all time (okay, I'm exaggerating to make a point). Get those hiccups out of there so that those fifteen agents can see it.
I'll take YOUR advice now. I'm stumped.