Tag Archives | when to query

How I Write: Knowing and Growing (when to submit)

(Check out Ansha’s blog for participating writers.)

I finished my first draft of my first story. And I knew I was ready. (cough, cough) So I submitted. Yup. And I got rejected. Double yup.

Agents wish writers would wait before submitting. Unfortunately, after our first story with maybe some revisions thrown in, we think we’re ready. Because we don’t know any better. And I say kudos. Go ahead. It’s a brave first step. We need those form rejections to realize we have a lot of growing to do.

After several rejections and critical feedback, I stopped. I knew I had more to learn. I wrote another couple stories, maybe queried a couple agents, but then stopped and moved on. Yes, I could have rewritten those stories and rewritten and rewritten, but I needed to take what I had learned and apply it to something new.  I could have queried every agent on the face of the earth, but I didn’t. They were practice novels. I could do better.

If you’re a beginner and you’re not quite sure how to revise yet, (or you think you don’t really need to) I say query a bit. Get your feet wet. But read craft books, read books, and continue to write. Don’t stall your writing for your first story. Move on.

You’ll know when you’re really ready. The feedback from readers/crit partners will be more line editing. You’ll know the checkpoints of macro and micro editing. You’ll have figured out how to intertwine emotion and tension into the heartbeat of your story. You’ll know about scene and structure and goal and motivation. All that good stuff.

And if you mess with that manuscript anymore, you’ll kill your voice and any raw emotion you had. That’s when you might be ready.

All you can do is craft the best query you can and send it out there. Easy squeezy. (cough, cough)

How do you know when to stop revising and send your baby out into the world?

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