2.15.2012

Signs You're Not Ready to Query

Way back when I was riding on a high of finishing my first draft, aka ohmylandsthebeststoryEVER, I took the next obvious step and began researching agents.

Because, you know, I was ready. Heh.

I found an agent who was looking for my book. She didn't know it, but I had EXACTLY what she wanted. I planned to do a read-through, catch grammatical errors and misspellings, and send my manuscript on it's merry way to the bestsellers list.

Thankfully, at about the same time, I met my first critique partner, Christine. If you don't know her, go check her out NOW. My words can wait. She's brills for reals, guys. (I just made that up. Is it funny to anyone else?) More on the awesomeness that crit partners are later, but to sum up, after I sent her some of my perfect story, she very kindly but very firmly sent me back a "This isn't working." It wasn't ready yet. I had a lot of changes that needed to be made.

Since then, my first draft has been relegated to the File of No, where all first drafts belong. And even though it's painful to read now, I'm glad to be able to see all I've learned since I wrote it. Hopefully, I'll know when I'm ready to query for real someday.

So, compliments of my first draft (and a few other stories), here are signs your manuscript isn't ready to be queried:
  • Your own mother doesn't even finish reading the entire draft.
  • It starts with waking up.
  • Your protagonist has to look in the mirror and reassess that she still has sparkling blue eyes just a shade darker than the Mediterranean, white-blonde, wavy hair with that one crazy kink by her right ear, and the slight dimple in her chin.
  • The climax is a very earnest discussion with the antagonist where everyone politely agrees to disagree.
What are some ways you knew you weren't ready to query?

22 comments:

Jenna Cooper said...

Pretty much reading agents' blogs and thinking, Oh look, I do that wrong...and that wrong...ooof that isn't too strong, either.

Juliemybird said...

Haha. Haha. Ha, oh... "where everyone politely agrees to disagree." Hey, I've seen worse.

Also, I have to reassess my appearance ALL THE TIME. Those mirrors are crafty. I'm convinced mine's been lying to me. :P

Crit partner love!

Christine Tyler said...

Your bulletpoints equal so much laughter. Love it.

thanksforcallingmebrillsMKAY.

Gina said...

I knew I wasn't ready to query when I looked down and realized that I'd spent so much time talky-talking that my characters didn't kiss until, like, their fifteenth date. #facepalm

Also, fellow campaigner here and I tagged you in the getting-to-know-you game that's been going around. You can find your questions here: http://ginadenny.blogspot.com/2012/02/getting-to-know-campaigners.html I'm looking forward to getting to know you better! :)

i'm erin. said...

bah ha ha ha...Ok, I can't tell you how many stories aI started with my MC waking up. I thought I was genius. Of course, now I start with them going to sleep...just kidding!

Callie Kingston said...

Nice to meet you! And, I love your blog. Lots of sass.

Callie

Callie Kingston

Liz Fichera said...

Thanks for the chuckles. Oh, been there, done that. I still cringe when I read the first book I wrote--and thought it was so great. :)

Jenna Cooper said...

Tag! You're it!

Here's what that means: http://findingthewriteway.blogspot.com/2012/02/11-questionsive-been-tagged.html

Patricia Marques said...

Ah, my first novel is in the big folder of NO. And I don't think it'll get out of it to be honest lol. I've been looking at information on querying but not on agents yet because, well, I tend to get over excited and impatient so I think I have to leave that part until I'm ready.

Well. Really ready with go-ahead's from crit partners and writer friends lol. Fingers cross that day isn't too far away.

(I also tend to go back and look at old stuff >.>;... I cringe every time lol)

Amber Clites said...

Just tagged you to answer my ridiculous eleven questions at http://amberafterglow.blogspot.com/2012/02/writers-campaign.html Can't wait to see your answers!

Kris Atkins said...

"It starts with waking up." Haha! My first draft totally started that way.
Aren't CPs great? Like, seriously brills for reals (I love that, btw).

digillette said...

Oh, I always hate it when the protag looks in the mirror and we get a description! I would rather just not know how the MC looks than to get a description in a forced way! :)

Thanks for the tips!

Jolene Stockman said...

The File of No = <3 :) *waves hi from campaign group*

Laurie Dennison said...

Hi from the campaign, Jeigh! That's a great list! CPs really are awesome.

E. Arroyo said...

some great tips. Passing by from the campaign.

Irene said...

This is Hilarious.

Traci Kenworth said...

Stopping in from the campaign!! I can relate to those days of thinking my first book was so brilliant everyone would take notice, lol. Eight books later, I'm still awaiting news, hopefully good.

Betsy Love said...

When your dear friend and 20xs published author friend shreds your manuscript and bleeds red ink all over it, that's how you KNOW you're not ready to query!

I'm your new follower hopping over from the campaign!

Daisy Carter said...

This is hilarious (and real. Very. Painfully. Real. My first ms, first draft is SO bad). Great post!

Megan said...

I am so sad right now that I didn't come up with "brills for reals." SO. SAD. And also, the "File of No." I'm going to actually go make myself one of those right now.

I knew I wasn't ready to query when I reached the end of my YA fantasy and it was only like, 45,000 words. Oops.

Kate Coursey said...

Hahahaha this made me laugh so hard! I queried a 125,000-word novel at age 15. High fantasy. Kind of the opposite of Megan (the commenter above me). It was exactly like Lord of the Rings. I did end up getting a full request based on a partial, but all in all the manuscript was NOT ready for consumption.

Great to meet you!

Julie Daines said...

Hi there. Love your story of your first first draft. Yeah, we've all been there. Thanks for stopping by my blog.