Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson

When is that novel ready to query?

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I keep thinking my stories are ready to query.

The problem is that they’re not. One might be… if I would just write a decent query letter and synopsis for it. The problem with literary fiction featuring unreliable narrators is that their stories are tough to encapsulate.

Another book is almost ready. That’s the one I’m currently editing for the (I’ve-lost-track-of-how-many-times) last time before querying, hopefully. I’ve submitted query letters on this before without getting any nibbles. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the query letter I have, particularly. It’s that I haven’t queried widely enough, and I confess that I am a chicken. I like to talk about having a flameproof suit, but I don’t like rejection any more than the next person.

A third book is one I thought was ready last year, but it was too close to its NaNoWriMo inception and I was so in love with the world and characters and setting that instead of tightening it up during the edit process, I added another 45k words to it. That made it way too big for its perceived genre and no one was interested. It’s next on my list of novels sitting around on my hard drive that need editing, right after I finish this one.

As a former editor, I’m a perfectionist. I don’t like to see anything step out the door with typos or grammatical errors, especially of the consistent variety. That has a tendency to work against me, though. Nothing is or will ever be perfect. I will undoubtedly find things on subsequent reading passes that I wish I’d done differently. At some point I’m going to have to actually put on that fireproof suit and send query letters out the door. My half-assed goal is to do that within the next few months.

I’ll go ahead and answer my own question: that novel is ready to be queried when I’ve exhausted all my other excuses, bitten my nails down to the quick, read and re-read until I can’t see the words any more, and my critique partners give me the thumbs-up sign. Then I’ll get to Phase Two: deciding who to query and in what order. That will be its own can of worms, but at least I’m expecting some drama there!

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Author: G.L. Jackson

Writer, reader, amateur photographer. Mostly, I just like pretending to be a different person each day of the week.

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