Knowing when to Query

This time last year I was racing through edits of a story I thought was in the perfect place to start pitching and querying. I was wrong. I’m now deep in the middle of 3 novels and none of them are close to ready, but I can see what needs to be done with all of them, and it’s daunting. Mostly, if not almost entirely, because as I’d already started querying I feel like I should still be querying until I land on my feet.

My novels aren’t ready for that though. And this isn’t a matter of knowing a story is never really ready or done, but only ever ready enough instead of seeking perfection… it’s more just knowing that I have some significant changes I need to make, and in one case I need to finish writing it.

The first, the one I thought would be my first published story, and may yet be, my #BreakupWIP, is the one I started querying last year. I noticed a pattern in the rejections that weren’t simply form and I thought that mostly people weren’t connecting because it’s f/f – but one lovely agent took the time to give me some in depth feedback and suddenly I saw where the story was failing – but also where it would shine… after one more complete rewrite.

The second story I’d half shelved not knowing quite what to do with it, but I let it sit there at the edges of my mind. This is my #CrimeFamWIP. I know roughly how it needs to be fixed, but again, a full rewrite, rebuilding it from the ground up, is needed. I’m currently trying to wrangle what is currently happening and then rewrite the outline before I move forward…

Both these stories I know will shine one day.

The third, still in progress first draft is my #CoveWIP. Having written so much prior to starting this one, rewritten stories, workshopped and editing things, I feel this one will be the strongest in that first draft, but I know it’s still got a ways to go.

It still rests heavily on me though that I need to be getting my work out there in the world, and that every time I’m not ready to send things out is a missed opportunity. I also trust I’ll find my way in time but struggle with the patience to get there. More on that next time as I’ve got a lot of thoughts about finding balance between writing and other responsibilities (and chronic illness).

I think there’s a point in a draft when you know you have the elements right. You’ve had some feedback and you know maybe it isn’t perfect (it never is and never will be) but you know the right person out there will see what you see in the story you’re trying to tell. I think it’s part actually nailing the writing part and part having that internal conversation with yourself and trusting what you’ve done to be good enough.

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punk rock ballerina. writer. adventurer.