Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crawling to the finish line

Right now I am doing what I do best: procrastinating.

The closer I get to finishing the final (I hope) edit of my WIP, the slower my progress. One would suppose I would be hurling to the end, eager to finish and begin sending off queries.

Instead, I go over a few pages, take out a sentence, read the pages again, put the sentence back and change a word. Then I minimize the page and play a few hands of Spider Solitaire and check my e-mail before wandering off to make a cup of tea and engage my husband in a conversation about whether or not we need to make a run to Wal-Mart.

I have been working on this manuscript for almost 10 years now. I thought I had finished it once and sent out queries. One agent kindly told me "It isn't religious enough for the Christian market and not steamy enough for the historical market."

I put it aside. I could no more take out the religious slant than I could ignore the costumes of the period. Back then, the church was the focus of the community and people believed God was looking down on them with an angry and judgmental glare.

And, I couldn't make it "steamier." Some people can write erotic passages; I cannot.

But the story still called to me. I decided to rewrite it in 2009 and took out some of the "preachier" passages. I allowed the heroine to feel all warm and tingly whenever she was around the hero. I even had a secondary character destroy her reputation by running off with her son's tutor.

My critique group encouraged me to keep on and so I managed to complete the revised story. Because I had added passages, I needed to go back over it and make certain that everything flowed smoothly.

Now I am going over it again to see if I had missed any glaring errors. I have less than 100 pages to go. And each day, I go over fewer pages than the day before.

I don't want to get to the end because the next step is submission. I dread the process of sending out a query letter, synopsis and bio. I dread opening an e-mail or letter and seeing that rejection slip.

I guess I am afraid I did all that work and the novel is still unpublishable.

But I won't know until I try. I made one projection that I would finish by Feb. 1. I missed it, for all the reasons listed above. My next goal is to have at least one query sent out by March 1. There is no reason I can't accomplish this.

No reason at all.


  1. Sandy, it's a fantastic book. Get it out there and let other people enjoy it.

  2. Why are procrastinating? Are you afraid to let your novel go? Is your little voice inside taking over your own judgement?

    Just do it. Cut the cord, sit down and finish, visualize the end. And you'll get there.

  3. Sandy,

    I've been doing the same thing. For years. Finally Angela Knight gave me some advice last week: Just do it. And I did. I wrote the query and the synopsis and sent it to a small press.

    Hitting send was the hardest thing I've ever done. I'm still editing, but I have sworn to myself that this is the last time.

    You will never know until you send it out. And they nothing ventured nothing gained.

    Good Luck!

    Amy Pfaff

  4. I know it's hard Sandy. You CAN do this! Just get to the end and press send and then start something new. If it's gonna happen, you can't stop a rejection. It you don't submit you WILL stop an acceptance. Good luck!

  5. Hi Sandy:)

    I think what Calisa said is right on target:)No one can stop a rejection (and in today's market it's common) but, if you don't submit you'll possibly stop an acceptance.
    Go through it one last time since you changed it...and then kick it out the door:)Kick it hard enough it won't boomerang on ya!:) ( I have visions of you running to the post office and trying to dig it out of the send section;):)
    One more thought, a little controversial, but I'll share it with you anyway. Indie pubbing is coming on strong. If you go through several submissions and the most negative comment you're getting is: it's not what we're looking for at the moment, then consider indie pubbing. The NY market is rough right now. Even for good work. There's a brave new world coming and the door is open...don't be afraid to step through if that seems to be the door you're destined to take:)

    Loretta Wheeler

  6. Sometimes I think we love our stories so much we protect them from "rejection" and also, if we pen "the end" it becomes such. A finality in a relationship with characters we're closer to at times than our own real friends and family. If that little pang of sadness laced with honest passion for the story pings at the end, then place the final "period" and call it done. That's how you want your reader to feel when they reach the end. In love with your story and sad to see if close. Sandy, if you could preach one thing what would it be? To stay where it's safe? No way. Send it. It sounds like the story has grown, now its your turn. Go for it girl!!

  7. Hi Sandy -

    I know how your feel and Jo may be right. We do fall in love with our characters as if they were our own but, it's time to let go.

    As far as rejections, I think it's the frog theory. You have to kiss a lot of frogs until you find the prince (or editor for your book). Just don't get any warts!


    ... Ruth

  8. Hi Sandy,
    Been there, done that! Funny how we can put things off, even though if done, it's for our betterment!!!@??? So from one procrastinator to another, Hang in there, get it done already! smile...
    Your friend and fellow writer,