This is my Book Crypt, where failed manuscripts go to die.
They’re interred in this plastic file box after the final draft has been shopped around to literary agents and the few publishers that still accept unsolicited manuscripts without finding a life beyond my word processor. It’s always a sad day, saying goodbye to the high hopes I started with when the book was just a germ of an idea, growing by the hour, sprouting hairy legs and doodley antennae until I had to let it squirm free onto the page. Then the excitement/terror that follows that first query to whichever dream agent I chose to share it with first. Will they love it like I do?
Generally, the answer is no.
Surrender? Never. Aspiring novelists wouldn’t be in this game if it was quick and easy. Quick and easy is for Band-Aids and instant oatmeal, not for an inspiration that becomes an idea that becomes a story you can share with people all over the country, all over the world, if you’re lucky; one universal experience, varied with every reader, seen through their own unique lens. It’s an incredible thing, a novel. Even after laying 16 books to rest in the Crypt since I started writing seriously back in eighth grade, I still feel that way. Every failed book is a learning experience, another opportunity to sharpen your skills and move on in search of the one big idea that will catch a publisher’s eye.
I’m still looking for it. It’s out there. Stay strange, people.