Last month, I wanted to get started on the query train, but I had yet to hear from two people who agreed to critique for me. When they did get back to me, it became clear… The Gifted is not ready to send out. Have you ever sat and read through your work and known something was off but couldn’t put your finger on how to fix it until someone else pointed out there was something wrong with it too? Yeah, that’s what happened. I knew something was off, I just couldn’t put my finger on it, figured it was just fear… And then both the critiques came back with the same basic notes, and I had an A-HA! moment.
I’m glad to say I’m not one of those people who jumped the gun and started querying before the book was ready. It’s a common first-timer mistake.
I’ve been working on this book since I started blogging almost two years ago. Am I anxious to get it out the door? Sure, but not if it’s not ready. This isn’t exactly the-book-of-my-heart, but it’s certainly important to me. I’ve invested so much time in it, to force it out into the world now would be tragic.
I’ve come to learn that you aren’t done until you’re done, and then you still have work to do. It’s not enough that you think your book’s done. You have to be sure. If you have any inkling there might be something off about it, take the time to figure it out. Ask a CP or friend or your significant other to sit down and brainstorm with you about what it is that is so off about your book, be it a plot point, some particular bit of grammar, or something else. You may be sick and tired of looking at it, but you’re doing your book and yourself an injustice by forcing something that isn’t ready.
I’ve been working on my writing – trying to better my skills and learn all I can – for just as long as I’ve been working on The Gifted, and, while my writing has gotten better, I know I still have a lot to learn… And a few things I struggle with, like everyone else. I’m not going to sit back and just let The Gifted fall away though. This book deserves the best (and worst – or else I wouldn’t be able to kill off my characters) of me and I will give it. I will push as hard as I can to make sure it’s the best it can be.
And that’s the least I can do.
You’re not done until you’re done.
Have you ever had one of those A-HA! moments?