Just Send It!:
When to Stop (Re)Writing & Just Get Your Work Out There!
From the titular panel at WorldCon75, the panelists were Mike Pohjola (moderator), Ken Liu, Kali Wallace, Ellen Datlow, and Katri Atalo.
All writers are united by one question: when is your manuscript done?
How do you know your story is ready? They say to only show your most polished work, but many of us are perfectionists, have anxiety, and/or are too close to our manuscripts and can only see the flaws. Declaring our manuscript done may be a day that never comes, but we have to stop sometime.
For the answer, let’s see what the professionals say.
Top 3 Ways You Know You’re Done Revising:
- When you find yourself rearranging commas.
- When you’re getting bored and a newer and better idea comes along.
- When you’re sick and tired of looking at it and just can’t make yourself revise again.
- NOTE! This does not mean you shouldn’t POLISH your manuscript – after you’re sick of it, you should still do a line edit for typos, grammar checks, and consistency issues.
Sadly, however, sometimes we’re our worst judge. That’s why you need trusted beta readers and/or critique partners before you send it to an agent or editor.
Fun Fact – In her work as an editor, Ellen Datlow knew, whenever a writer she’d worked with in the past decides something is the “best story they’ve ever written,” she was almost always about to see their worst story yet.
7 Ways To Make The Best 1st Impression With An Agent or Editor
- Have a story that gets the agent/editor’s attention.
- Write the best story you can.
- Don’t harass agents/editors.
- Don’t come up to them on the street/at a convention and ask them to read your manuscript.
- Spell the agent/editor’s name right.
- Add your contact info on the manuscript itself
- Many agents/editors these days just upload your manuscript to their kindle or phone, completely disparate from the query. Make it easy for them to contact you for more.
- Be open to edits. Know that your FINAL draft is never the final draft. Until it’s printed, everything can change.
- Knowing people doesn’t help. Polished manuscripts do. All networking can do is get your manuscript a closer look.
Where are you in your writing journey?
Is it time for you to face your fear of the ‘no’ and just put your work out there?