Those Who Wait

Seven years ago, my wife had an unsettling dream. As soon as she told me about it, my imagination started running full-speed ahead, and with her blessing, I outlined a novel. My goal: have a coherent draft finished and ready for her to read by Halloween of that year. 

Mission accomplished. Those Who Wait ended up clocking in at 100,000 words, and Mrs. Fowler liked it. As she often does, she encouraged me to get it out into the world. 

The following year, I started querying Those Who Wait with a couple dozen agencies. Then I got distracted by Write1Sub1 for a little while (three years). In 2014, I queried another twenty agents. In 2015, sixty-five agents. This year, another couple dozen. 

Prior to 2016, eight of those agents asked to see either a partial or full manuscript, which was encouraging. In the end, Those Who Wait wasn't quite what they were looking for. But this summer, I received three requests for the full manuscript. And one of the agents actually responded with feedback -- areas to tighten in the novel's first quarter. 

That was a first, and much-appreciated. Always helpful to know how to improve, right? She invited me to send her the revised version when I had it ready, and she'd take another look at it. I cut 4,000 words (about 16 pages) and got it back to her within a week. Then I crossed my fingers, toes, and eyes, waiting, hoping, and keeping busy.

Alas, she said I hadn't revised enough, and she was going to pass on it; but she told me to keep her in mind for other projects I may have in the future.

Disappointing? Sure. But I still feel like I've made some progress in my hunt for an agent. The next time one of them asks me to revise, maybe I'll be a little more brutal with the cutting. Maybe not. It is my novel, after all, and I have to be true to myself and to my work.

So that leaves two agents with the full manuscript who haven't gotten back to me yet. Stay tuned...
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