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Friday, February 11, 2011

Writers Write Part Two

I thought so -- there's no easy way to be a writer, except to write. This is the year.

On a writing loop I belong to, this question came over the wires:

I finished my first manuscript last September. I was naive and eager and began submitting it to agencies right away. I received some really nice letters back and also some constructive criticism, which I took to heart. I made some drastic changes to the manuscript, which I feel improved it considerable. My question is, what do I do with it now?

At what point can I resubmit the same manuscript to an agent? 3 months, 6 months, never? Help!

This great answer is from Kaye Dacus, a multi-pubbed author of some terrific books. You can check out her website at

What else are you writing? How many other manuscripts have you finished? If you haven't already been asked that by the editors/agents you've had contact with, you will.

My advice is to set this one aside and write/complete/revise another manuscript. And then another. And then another. The best way to train for becoming a multi-published author is to finish multiple manuscripts now, before you're agented/contracted. I'd completed four manuscripts before I ever dreamed of submitting anything to anyone---and I worked on that fourth manuscript for three years (two of those years in graduate school as my master's thesis with the help of two published authors and half a dozen critique partners). By the time I submitted it to anyone, I was already most of the way through the first draft of my fifth manuscript and planning my seventh through tenth. And that fourth manuscript became my first published novel.

We learn more about the craft of writing with each manuscript that we complete and revise---our voice, our storytelling, our own individual style becomes stronger and stronger with each new story we write.

So, as I've said to the members of my local group many times: Bravo for finishing your first manuscript. Now write the next one.

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