Pick the Right Baby

the lineup

The agent wasn’t taken with the pages I sent from my manuscript The Labyrinth House. I rewrote them, but they still work for her. The agent was willing to read a few pages of The Blue Jar, and she liked those pages enough to ask for more. I’ve sent more, and I’m now waiting.

I have this crazy wish. And yes, I know it is stupid and would never work, so you don’t need to tell me everything wrong with the idea or why it is silly or any other words of wisdom. But if I could, I’d like to send an agent the first chapters of every manuscript I’ve written (eight) and say, “Please pick one.”

Yeah. I know. But it is hard to shake the feeling that I’ve sent the wrong thing. Call me vain, but I love every manuscript. Plenty of writers compare writing a novel to having a baby. Now, I hate this analogy because I’ve had a baby and I think the comparison is insane. The doctor told my husband that if I’d given birth 20 years ago, I might well have died. So. Writing a novel is not like having a baby.

However, just to play a hypocrite, if my novels are babies, how could I say one is bad and stick it under the bed?

But I’ve got my manuscripts lined up…and which one casts a spell? (Ooo! babies that can cast spells! Oh wait. No, no, no.)

Of course, there is always the possibility that the answer is–not a single manuscript works. They’re all first novels really.)

How do you know what you’re writing is working?

6 thoughts on “Pick the Right Baby

  1. I don’t know, sometimes it would be nice to stick one of the babies under the bed when they were ‘bad’ 🙂
    That is certainly the age-old question when writing “How do I know it’s any good?” Keep trying, I guess. I think you’ll make it one day. I really do 🙂

    1. Well, if I’m honest, I’ve had a few of those could-I-stick-the-baby-under-the-bed moments. Here’s to hoping we both make it… though some days I just think I’m kidding myself.

  2. A friend who keeps a blog finds it exhausting to keep posting and posting and posting — always having to come up with a new idea for the next post. I advised him to start stacking up draft posts, even just a few sentences here and there, so he’s always got something in the pipeline. He pointed out, rightly, that that just requires him to come up with all the new ideas in advance. Ha.

    I hope I’ve got another story somewhere. Sometimes it feels like, well, this one story is it for me. Which I’d be okay with, in a sense — assuming it resonates with readers. But the thought of having nothing to write about is a little freaky.

    And I’ve almost given up worrying whether what I’m writing is working. I’m like, it is, or it isn’t, and I’ll probably never achieve enough distance to know for sure.

    But it’d be great to have one of those instant-read thermometers you could just stick in a draft manuscript, eh?

    1. At this moment–and I’ll feel differently a few moments from now–I feel that I’ll never get a manuscript right. That I just don’t have that…whatever-it-is ability. But I’ll write anyway, and my son can have a great big box of stories when he’s older.

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