#ContactForm1 { display: none ! important; }

Friday, June 14, 2013

Editing Once More

I got this question a couple of times on Twitter so I'm answering it here.

"Shouldn't you finish editing before you query?"

Yes, yes you should. And I did to the very best of my ability as of last October when I began querying JANE DOE. In the nearly eight months since I finished that round of edits on JANE DOE I've written three more books and worked with a new editor who had some amazing insight into my writing style.

You see, I'm good with dialog. It's something I've been told by many people I do well, and my editor pointed out that I was using dialog as a crutch. I wound up rewriting several scenes for the short story that's going into this summer's anthology because I'd relied on dialog to carry the story without bothering to give a description, setting, or show the character's emotions. That's not a good habit to form.

So when the last several rejections for JANE DOE came back as "This is really good, but I don't love it enough." I decided to go back through and see if I'd relied on some of the bad habits I've been working on in the past half year.

Turns out, there were. Six months ago is a long time in my world. My best work six months ago isn't the same as my best work today and that's how it should be. If you're writing daily, editing daily, working on something every day six months is over 500 hours of work (give or take depending on what your daily work time is). For me... that's about 500 hours of improvement.

So JANE DOE isn't up to standard. Neither is the query.

Both are good, but they are no longer Best.

So, yes, I'm editing again. I'm putting JANE DOE on querying hiatus for a few weeks while I make sure it's up to my current standards, and then I'll look at the painfully short list of agents who rep sci-fi (FYI - there's no way to send 500 queries if you're querying SF, not unless you query each person 5-6 times) and see where JANE will be happy.

I know what I want in an agent. Agents know what they want in books. Now it's a matter of skill and a bit of luck. And if it luck doesn't strike while I query agents I'll turn to the smaller presses and see which editors would be a good fit.

1 comment:

  1. I land into this category too, always getting better as I go and realizing if I were to rewrite the books I have published, they'd be completely different. But, it's a comfort to know that that part of me, as I was then, is now unchangeable. Not sure why that's a comfort, but it is. Until then, though, sometimes you do just have to rework stuff until it's published. I wish you luck!