Updated: Nov 18, 2019
“You think I’m too fat,” my manuscript cries at me.
“That’s not true,” I lie while highlighting two pages of internal dialogue from my main character and, with bold commitment, jab the delete key. “I just want you to be the best you can be.”
“You’re changing everything! Yesterday you rooted out every –ly adjective and adverb and struck them out. The day before that, you agonized for nearly an hour over how to show readers the characters were freezing. I don’t understand why you couldn’t just tell them the characters were cold and get on with it.”
“Trust me,” I say, “you’re better off this way.”
“Trust you? I know what’s going on. I’ve seen that cutesie-tootsie short story you’ve been spending time with.”
I’ve gone over every page, line, paragraph, sentence and word six thousand four hundred twenty three and one third times. The final showdown between protagonist and antagonist is thrilling, but if I read it again I may become physically ill.
“I want to see other people, too,” Manuscript whines.
“You’re not ready.”
“If I listen to you, I’ll never be ready.”
Backed by my critique group and beta-readers, I know Manuscript is right.
So, I personalize the same query letter to dozens of agents and send them out. Like a novice mystic bedding down on razor sharp spikes for the first time, I await in terror for some answer. Any at all! Even a “Thanks, but no thanks,” would be better than nothing, but I understand that’s how the game is played sometimes.
To make myself feel better, I seek out more agent names and, personalizing the same query letter…
“Oh no! Tell me I didn’t bungle their, there, and they’re, in every single letter!”
Manuscript scowls. “You did that on purpose.”
“No I didn’t. Believe me when I say I love you, but it’s time for you to go!”