I have a manuscript that is 4+ years in the making, which I absolutely love and believe is ready to be published. Problem is, agents aren’t interested (100 rejections and counting). I feel like I’m done. I can’t work on it anymore, but I don’t want to abandon it. Has this ever happened to you? Do you have any advice?
Oy. Well, the “oy is because this is such a hard thing to go through, and I know this because yes, it has happened to me. Three times. Once with the original drafts of THOSE WHO SAVE US. Once with the novel between THOSE WHO SAVE US and THE STORMCHASERS. And once with the original drafts of THE STORMCHASERS. With each novel, I submitted to agents, and for each novel, I received a hearty round of nice, encouraging…rejections. I couldn’t get anywhere with any of them. Finally I put them away and turned to other things: life, new writing. What happened with THOSE WHO SAVE US and ‘CHASERS was, years later, I returned to both novels with new insights and more skill at creating structure for their stories. Those times, they sold!
The novel in between–that one did not sell. It is sitting in a file in my Boston apartment. I just visited it and said hello to it. Was there a mourning period for it? Absolutely. I didn’t write again for about a year after my agent couldn’t place it. (I made sure of this by quitting smoking during that year.) But you know, when I picked it up recently and riffled through the pages, the characters in the novel were quite happy being where they are. They’re having a fine time living out their story lives on the pages. Whether they’re being read by a bunch of people doesn’t matter to them. It matters to me. So the novel is fine where it is, and I left it alone.
Some novels you return to because time and enhanced experience can make them better. Some are complete in themselves, they’re never going to be any different, and you can let them go to happy novel-land. I hope this is helpful!
xo & write on!,