Monday, April 9, 2012

Readiness.

I’m going to try and broach a topic that I don’t really have the answers for. In fact, I’m hoping that you will. *waves at new followers from Ilima's amazing blog*


When are you ready to let your novel go?


I’ve been doing this for a while now and have yet to even attempt to look for an agent. Of course, that has always been my goal, but I feel like I might never be ready. I write, re-write, polish, get feedback fro crit partners and BETA readers. Agonize. Re-write. Polish. Send out again…. You get the idea.


So when is it ready?


I went to this conference and met Jeff Stone who is the MG author of the Ancestors’ Series. Someone asked him the same question and his response was interesting to me. He said something to the effect that if you are getting different responses from five different people, then take those responses seriously, but—ultimately—go with your gut. But, if you’re getting the same feedback from five different people…well…you’d better listen.


So I recently had some experience with this. At our Critique Writing Retreat my crit partners sat me down and, very lovingly, had an intervention about my first chapter. My first chapter that I had re-written, tightened and was married to. I fought back, grasping at straws, amazing first sentences and witty dialogue, but eventually, I realized they were right. And the fact that all of them had the same advice, well, I knew I’d better listen.


So I did.


I re-wrote.


And it’s better. And this week, I’m getting ready to let my novel go.


But my question to you is: How do you know when your novel is ready?

16 comments:

  1. I have no idea, LOL.. but how exciting for you :)

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    1. Thanks Cristina for stopping by.

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  2. Whoa wait what DONT DO IT!!!!!! I need to read it! I need to give you feedback! *grabs Making Stars*

    Re: "knowing when": I'm lazy. When I get bored of the MS, I move on. So DON'T LISTEN TO MY PERSONAL STORY. But I do think I'm pretty good at giving crits...so listen to that ;)

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    1. Wow. Taryn. I knew you'd freak out. Don't worry, I'm not querying this week. Silly girl. I'm getting ready to let it go.

      I still have a lot of ready-ing to do.

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  3. I'm feeling lonely here at the querying party. Get a move on, girl, so we can party together. I know I'm ready when I feel like chucking the dang MS across the room and shouting "Nevermore!" Yep. That's when it's ready for the world. :)

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    1. Ilima. I'm not quite there yet, you know, to throwing my MS across the room. But almost. Almost...

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  4. I never feel it's ready, but I think your first chapter has to be because if you can't get an agent's attention with it, they'll never read the rest. You're gut us always a good guide also.

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    1. You're totally right about the first chapter, which is why I AGONIZE over it so much. Trying to follow my gut is so hard, cause it's all over the place!

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  5. Good advice from Jeff Stone, especially when you're looking at the big picture. But I still struggle with the little things because even when I think something is at a good place, I can re-read and just tweek the sentence just a little because it sounds better this way. And then I'll find something else to tweek. And again. Every time I re-read, I always find something new that I didn't see before.

    So how many times do I re-read the ms? Four. Eight. Ten. When it's just nit-picky things, that's when it's hard to know when to quit.

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    1. I'm totally with you Suzi. It's so hard to know when to let go. I wish I had more guts to just go for it...but, like you, I keep tweaking!

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  6. I guess you never know for sure.. I agree with Em-musing though, that first chapter needs to ROCK. Big Time. Good luck!

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    1. *picking through first chapter with a fine-toothed comb*

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  7. When the only things you're changing are the odd word or occasional piece of punctuation. When people like the characters, the plot, the style, you're all but done.

    That said, it's hard to let your baby out when it isn't perfectly dressed.

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    1. Ooo. Martin, I like that. Thanks for the thoughts. It's nice to have some specifics to think about. I'm almost there (at least I think I am. *waiting for a few more BETAS*) to where I'm tweaking words and punctuation...

      Getting closer....

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  8. That is crazy. I just read "If I stay" because I was going to listen to "Where she went" on my long runs for the week and realized I needed to read the first one...first. Loved them. And I am jealous you get to meet these authors. So cool!

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  9. Ooops I wrote my comment on the wrong entry. Anyway.....

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