Thursday, October 18, 2018

all this back and forth will make you crazy...and you're crazy enough already

I have one requested full out with reputable Agent A. I'm also making revisions to my manuscript after an incredibly helpful call with big-time Agent B! In full disclosure...the call with Agent B was done on a favor, but it went really well and Agent B said I should absolutely re-query once I'm done with those revisions. Perhaps Agent B was just being nice? Who knows, but my optimistic side is hoping the interest is genuine. 

The question being...I've been making revisions to my manuscript based on Agent B's notes and I'm really liking my changes. (I was wasting too much time on set up and this new revision really streamlines everything much better.) I'm wondering if I should send my updated manuscript to Agent A? My main concern here is that my updated manuscript for Agent B involves a whole new open. While I personally think the new open is better, Agent A obviously liked my old open enough to request a full manuscript...what if she doesn't like the new one? I'm finding myself in an endless back and forth battle on this question...Help! What's an anxious writer supposed to do? 

Well, first get off the rodent wheel of "what if?" It will just make you cranky and give you motion sickness.

Side note: my favorite "what if" is from a scene in The Wire (of course). Herc and Sydnor are on the rooftop, waiting for WeeBay to roll out for a drug/money run.  Herc is fretting; "what if he isn't coming? what if he already came and we missed it."

Sydnor, impatiently, says "what if your parents never  met?"

The glory of The Wire is the acting of course, and Herc (Domenick Lombardozzi) looks like he's in actual physcical pain when he considers this.

Back to you: you can fret yourself into madness, so let's take a step back and think about what your goal is.

Your goal is ALWAYS to get your best work in front of an agent.

If you think this new opening improves the novel, send it to Agent A.  You say "I've revised considerably in the last few weeks. May I send you the revised version?"

I'll lay odds that she'll be glad to see the new, spiffier version.  I know I always am.  I've had five or six revisions from more than one requested-full-writers.  More than one has withdrawn a ms to revise, and I'm ok with that too.

MY goal is to see your best possible work.
Your goal is to show me your best possible work.

If you're ever faced with a dilemma about what to do ask yourself what would accomplish both goals here, and do that.

Leave the rodent wheel for your therapy hamster.


luciakaku said...

I'm frankly surprised you didn't get chomped for suggesting an agent would tell you to re-query without it being genuine interest. That would only waste their own time if it wasn't genuine. Go with your optimistic side on this one, and do it no matter what your little woodland critter instincts are saying!

Congrats on all the interest, Opie!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

This sounds like good hamster wheeling problems to have, OP. Go with your best work like her majesty suggests. Almost up that hill. Climb in n.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Not a novel, but when Escape Pod emailed me last year to tell me my story "Surveillance Fatigue" was being held for consideration, I had (of course) read the story again and tweaked the ending just a bit. A matter of three sentences. But of course I felt like it brought everything into clearer focus and responded with "Thank you for telling me, I'm so pleased! But I've done some revision....should I email that or..?" and they said yes. And in the acceptance, they said "And we love the new ending!" So there's that!

Sam Mills said...

Jennifer, oh hey, I read that! It was really good!

I haven't done this at the "held for consideration" stage, but I have done it during edits. "I know you didn't point this out but I have to change this sentence over here because I noticed a minuscule unresolved plot question that nobody else noticed!!"

Elissa M said...

This happens all the time, I'm sure. Everyone knows a manuscript is never "finished", it's only "done, for now."

John Davis Frain said...

Congrats on the requests, OP. All requests are genuine. They are too rare not to be.

Also, if you ever get truly "finished" with your ms, lemme know. You'll be the first, from what I understand. Good luck with Agents A and B, but my money is on Agent M.

Joseph S. said...

I'm in the cranky stage this week

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Sam Thank you so much! I'm pretty pleased with it :D