On your mark…
I’d decided I was ready to start querying agents, to see if I could get any nibbles on my “finished” manuscript. I put “finished” in quotes because I determined that my manuscript isn’t as polished as it could be. There’s room for improvement. I found things that need to be added, things that need to be edited, and
probably definitely things that need to be removed altogether. There’s a lot of competition out there, and everything I write has to be the best it can possibly be.
It is impossible to be objective about ones own work, but as a writer, you have to be able to step back, step away, and look at what you’ve created — and it is a creation! — with fresh eyes. It helps to have critical beta readers who can point out flaws, readers who won’t tell you you’re the next Stephen King. I’m not even to that point, yet. (I thought I was.)
Writing a query means focusing on the plot of the book, and it was at that point that I was able to be honest with myself: my plot was lacking. The book
was is good, but. The book is entertaining, but. The book makes sense, but. There is room for improvement. I am confident that the book will be published someday. I know that I’ll find more things I want to revise or edit or change even after it’s in the wild. I’m okay with that. I will have moved on to the next (and the next, and the next). But for now, while it’s still in my complete control, this is my time to make it right, to make it as perfect as I can.
I will edit and polish and get it in the best possible shape before I even consider querying. Writing a novel takes time. There’s no sense in rushing the process at this stage; the manuscript isn’t going away. It can wait. So can I.