So, you’ve finished your novel and queried a few agents. Now what?
First, pat yourself on the back and give yourself a fist bump! Not a lot of people can say they wrote a novel. Now that you’re done, what’s a writer to do? Sit around and bite your nails? Finally clean your house because you neglected it for so long? Devour every last chocolate chip in the house?
No! That is not what you do! The best way to handle waiting, and waiting, and waiting is to wait some more and while you’re at it, eat the entire box of chocolate chip cookies you have set aside for your kids’ lunches. Strike that. Eat the Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano cookies you’ve got stashed in the back of the cupboard. You know, the bag hidden behind the box of whole grain crackers, conveniently out of sight, but not out of mind.
I’m kidding. Put down that crisp biscuit with the luscious layers of thin dark chocolate and white mint icing (okay, you convinced me, maybe just a tiny lick). Now it’s time to start a new project (if you haven’t already). What happened to that story you started but never completed. You know the one, stuffed in the back of a drawer, or lost in your document file on your laptop. It’s been sitting there awhile. What are you going to do with it?
What if you didn’t finish it because something about it bugged you and you weren’t quite sure what it was. How about digging it out, blowing the dust off and reading it again. Maybe whatever subconsciously bothered your “writerly senses” will stand out and you will get it. “Oh, I see! It’s unrealistic to have Merle’s older brother’s girlfriend discover her uncle’s got a missing sister who was lost at sea as a baby and raised on an uninhabited island by gourmet applesauce eating iguana’s.”
Yes, it may be time to re-work that plot. If not the plot, maybe certain characters stand out and deserve their own story. Or a great line jumps out and leaves you asking, “what if?” Where could that line take me? There must be something redeeming about the manuscript. Don’t leave it abandoned, take from it and make something new. The one thing you can be assured of–if you leave it in the drawer or stashed away on your hard drive–the world will never know anything about it. Whatever “glowing” piece of inspiration that is written on the page will never be found. No one will hear of it…unless you want it that way, then by all means, leave it there.
But, here’s your chance. Take it out, find something you can borrow, use, or steal for your future project. After all, it’s yours. Shame to waste it.