Wednesday, March 10, 2010

WIP Wednesday:To Quit Or Not to Quit....

What's cooking? Tonight we're going to Yakima to watch the Lady Mustangs in the Basketball State Championships. We're going to Miner's for dinner. Yes, GIANT CHEESEBURGER, here I come!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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.
  4. 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....
  5. 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:

  1. Stop revising V-Day. It's basically the same story. Just accept that no one's interested.
  2. 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.


  1. Amy, I know EXACTLY what you mean. And the only advice I have to give is sort of lame, but seems to work: Just trust your gut. Write what you want to write. It'll all work out somehow.

  2. I haven't read your novel, but there are fantastic novels that have gathered lots of rejections. Every publisher in the U.S. rejected A WRINKLE IN TIME, and then one reconsidered. Shannon Hale laminated her rejections together and takes them to school visits to show children because there are so many of them.

    I've just started following your blog, so I don't even know what genre your novel falls in. Good luck!

  3. Hi Amy-this is such a tough question. I think I would try one more round and then move on. I really like your MC and the premise of your book and I think it could sell, but what do I know? Finish your revisions- I'm learning so much from revising mine and I'm sure you are too- try again, then move on to your next project and fall in love again. That's what I would do. Definately don't stop writing!

    And ps-You made so many good points in my first few chapters and I'm still trying to fix it up. Thanks for the insight.

  4. Amy, a good friend of mine (and also a published writer) has given me this advise countless times...if it's not coming, then don't push it. Let it sit for a while and look at it later....maybe months, maybe years...just shelf it for a bit and maybe later you'll have a new perspective on it, a new twist, or have the interest to just make the revisions necessary.

  5. don't quit! don't quit!

    that said, all of the other advice sounds golden--I just mean, ULTIMATELY you should not quit. I for one, am hoping to read v-day. if not soon, then maybe when my granddaughters are reading YA!

  6. a thought from a more business-minded than creative-minded person... could it be that under a normal economy they would show more interest, but right now with limited resources they need to go with sure-sells? I'd say go ahead and revise it then sit on it for a couple years until we're in a better place as a nation and people are back to buying frivolities with our normal american wreckless abandon. :->


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