How soon to query?

Nice little post from Janet Reid about how soon is ‘too soon’ to query you novel? Here’s my take on that:

It’s a bit ironic that a writer can take months or even years to write a novel and then can’t take the time to polish/edit it. I believe editing is a whole other skill writers have to take time to learn. It requires a whole different frame of mind and it also requires objectivity which is extremely difficult with one’s own work. Especially for new writers. If I had known years ago how difficult editing would be, I would have been practicing it while I wrote my first novel (which took a couple of years).

The advice to start the second novel or write a complete second one before submitting the first is not only good from a craft standpoint but also because it puts space between you and the first novel. Many writers need that space to get the necessary objectivity. It’s amazing what a few months of not looking at it will do. Things will appear that you’d have never seen before. I’m writing my third novel now, and it’s amazing what I see now in the first novel I wrote that I just didn’t have the eye for right after I wrote it. My delusions of grandeur faded with time.

The big thing is: patience. Many writers could save themselves a lot of heartache simply by taking advantage of what time can teach them. And practice editing skills. Critique others. Read books with the eye for editing: what makes it work, what problems do you see, how could you make it better? And so on. Patience grasshopper. Patience.

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