I wrote precious words for any novelist last week…..the end. My novel about Louis XIV is essentially finished. I must clean up the manuscript, shape up some character and plot lines, and send it to my agent. What happens next?
Once it leaves my hands, there is my agent’s reaction. Will she consider it ready to sell? Is there a market for it? (I don’t presell books any more; too hard on my writing nerves.) She may ask me to rewrite something in it, which I will listen to seriously because I respect her.
But essentially, once I send the manuscript away, the book is out of my hands and into the hands of the fates. Who will like it? Who won’t? Will it sell well? Or not? I can affect those things hardly at all. And so I will clean my office, work on a web site, which I am years late in coming to, think about writing classes I would feel comfortable teaching (I don’t believe it’s possible to be taught how to write fiction, as if it were baking a cake. but there are essential elements), and begin thinking about the next novel.
Long ago, my first editor told me to just move on to the next book. This was when my first book sold. But I couldn’t do that. I held on to every moment, every scrap, every event about that first book. Now I know better.