Monday, August 23, 2010

Submission remorse?

As soon as I mailed out my submission last week, I thought about submission remorse. I sent out three chapters of a book that still needs revisions. It needs some new research and rewrites of whole big sections. Now, up until I got some new ideas for improving it, I thought this thing was done. I've sent it out before and gotten some pretty positive feedback. And this particular submission was sent to someone who specifically said not to worry about polishing it. So why worry?

We want to send our very best work out into the world. Somehow, submitting was so much easier a few years ago, when I was less educated about what that meant. I submitted a lot more work, probably because I was writing shorter pieces and not putting them aside to review later. As soon as I got a Slushbuster stamp of approval, into the mail it went. Not once during that time did it occur to me that I may have submitted a piece too early. Heck, I checked the caller ID on my cell phone every time it rang, thinking I was getting a call from an editor. Hah!

Sometimes the more you know, the more you question yourself.


KarenG said...

I read an agent post last week about when it's time to stop tweaking and just move on. Sounds like you did the right thing-- you had gotten good feedback, you sent it somewhere that apparently was interested, and you felt good about it at one point. Now if it comes back, but lets hope it doesn't (!), you can polish a bit more and send it again. Good luck!

Anne R. Allen said...

"The more you know, the more you question yourself" is soooo true.

I was the same way in my newbie days--I'd send off queries on a just-finished first draft, get requests for partials and send off half-baked stuff with plot holes and continuity issues that would make me cringe when I got the rejection later on. I think the rule should be always wait if you've got any reservations (Unless you've got a white-hot idea that editors are screaming for.)

But when you know it's done, don't let insecurities hold you back.

Michelle said...

Yes, moving on at some point is a good thing. It's just hard to know when something is finished. We used to say in the pottery that a good potter knows when to stop. You can't keep reworking the clay, because it weakens the structure. That may be true of a story too.

Anonymous said...

Revision can even haunt us after a book is published. Live the moment. Do what this moment tells and be ok with that is what I learn. I guess we only learn through trails and errors. :) Give a tran-pacific pat on the shoulder for u, Michelle. :)

Michelle said...

Thanks, lapin!