Patience is a virtue. Whoever said this needs to be backhanded. Unless it was like, Jesus, or something. In which case I humbly apologize. Anyone else—backhand.
The first draft of my YA fantasy, VANITY, took 5 months to complete. To me, that’s a long flippin’ time. It was my first novel, and largely un-outlined, so perhaps it’s understandable. But still. Imagine my surprise when I learned that many authors write 4-6 drafts of their book before submitting to agents. My first response was: seriously? My second was: no, seriously? Apparently this novel-writing thing takes a lot longer than I thought.
After learning the bitter truth, onward I marched. My second draft took another 3 months. Then, I dished out my manuscript to beta readers. From their feedback, I’m writing a third draft. I expect it to take a month. Then (yes, THEN), I’m sending it to an editor. From her feedback, I’ll draft a fourth and final draft, which will probably take another month. Finally, I’ll be ready to submit. Nope, scratch that. I’ll be ready to spend weeks writing the perfect query letter and synopsis.
Over the last several months, I’ve watched other writers finish a first draft in 3 months, make a few tweaks, and submit to agents. The entire time I felt sure I was making the better decision by taking my time.
But now I’m starting to wonder.
Other stories are itching away in my mind. How much more time should I give this bastard manuscript before saying, “Your time is up. It’s someone else’s turn.” When is enough…enough? Maybe a few weeks after I start feeling exhausted, but before I gouge out my own eyeballs?
Well, I’m happy to report, a decision has been made.
VANITY, you have 2 more months of my time. 2 more. Then I throw you to the wolves. You’ve been warned.