Last August I began work in earnest on a paranormal thriller that won’t leave me alone. I’ve had a long history with this book, initially trying to write it more than 20 years ago…long story. Anyway, I attended the Writers’ League summer writing retreat in Alpine, Texas, hoping that someone would talk me out of finishing it. Of course, no one did!
I worked feverishly on the novel for ten months, including getting the first 40 pages or so critiqued in the Gotham Writers Workshop. I also entered the synopsis and first ten pages in the Writers’ League manuscript contest, and while I didn’t win or even make the finals with my novel (I did make the finals with a narrative nonfiction that I’m working on–yay), I received a helpful critique that identified a significant problem in my manuscript.
Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I realized that the novel is still not ready to pitch. I still feel that there are some fundamental flaws that I need to address. I’m going to take a little break from it to create distance and to create some new material. At that point, I am going to get more critiques and see if some fresh eyes can help me figure out the problems.
I’ve just spent a weekend hanging out with other writers who understand the crazy road that we writers take, and it helps to know I’m not alone…that some books take years and years to complete. They are done when they are done, and no sooner.
Oh, you most certainly are NOT alone. I have been working on my millionth draft of my first novel on and off oh for just about 5 years now. I finally decided it was ready, and then spent another year rewriting my query….we each do it in our own time…
Thanks for the support! Do you have a favorite resource for the best way to do a query letter? Good luck to you! (and mine certainly feels like a million drafts.)
I got a lot of useful tips from the book, The Sell You Novel Toolkit, by Elizabeth Lyon. I liked this particular book as it has a lot of actual queries and synopsis for many different genres. If you can get your hands on it, I recommend it.