I wish there was some mechanism, a whooping alarm or a decisive trap door or something, that would sound off when I've sent my last query on THE TRAVELERS. You know, the last one I should reasonably send. Before I go into delusional writer's territory, querying a book that will Just Never Make It.
I know all the inspirational stories. Everyone rejected J.K. Rowling. Brodi Ashton queried a hundred agents. Elana Johnson queried 188 (one hundred and eighty-eight!) before she found her agent.
But maybe (probably) I'm not Brodi Ashton or Elana Johnson. Maybe I'm not talented enough. Or my first novel is too first-novelish. Or people don't care if the main character gets fed through a woodchipper.
I went through all the things listed in this post for how to tell if it's time to put your novel away, and I thought they maybe applied to TT. But I didn't know if I really felt that way, or if it was rejection-based disappointment flapping its jaw.
So when do I give up? When does this novel get lovingly wrapped in paper and stuffed in a drawer?
How did Beth Revis, who has NINE drawer-novels, know when to put each of them away?
In the lowest of the query trenches (form rejections on my subs!) the answer felt like, "Right now, you idiot, how could you have even thought you should query this piece of garbage?"
|This sign would have helped. Maybe a good business to market to writers?|
So, I tried to declare my own Deus Ex Machina (yes, I'm aware that's the opposite of how it works. Shut up.) And I said that if my project wasn't pulled for the next round of the Miss Snark's First Victim Baker's Dozen Auction, I'd put it on the shelf, forget about it for now, and pour myself fully into ONE. It had a 10% chance of being pulled from contest slush, so I thought it would at least be a definitive "yes" or "no." (I want to say very clearly for the record that all my CPs thought that this idea was completely moronic.)
And then a crazy thing happened. The ladies doing the choosing pulled TT from the slush and decided to put it on the auction block. There went my big plan for knowing for sure when to quit. The auction goes live to crit on Friday and to agents on Tuesday, and it just might be the big opportunity for me that it was for these ladies last year.
It's a funny thing, writing these projects we love. The littlest thing can get us down, make us want to host a manuscript-based bonfire party. But then something else can bring us right back to loving our manuscript, and save it from a future in the drawer for another week, or another month.
And the only thing we know for certain is that nothing about this business is easy - not even knowing when to quit.
Have you ever drawered a project? How did you know when it was time? Were you as much of a drama queen about it as I've been?