One of the questions I’ve seen floating around blogs and #askagent sessions is how you know when it’s time to put a manuscript on hold. The answer, it turns out, is rather like Justice Stewart’s definition of pornography: you’ll know it when you see it.
After 3 contests, several requests for fulls, and a little bit over a year of querying, with no offers of representation, I’ve decided to put Pomegranate House on hold. The fact that this doesn’t seem like a tough decision at all is part of what’s convinced me it’s time to do so.
The feedback I’ve gotten has been remarkably uniform, almost always along the lines of “I love your writing, but I’m not connecting with this piece.” Several agents have mentioned they’d like to see my next novel, once it’s ready. My takeaway is that I could keep trying working on this one, keep trying to coax it into something the market finds palatable – or I can work on the next thing.
I’m choosing the next thing.
I’ve got a novel in progress that I’m super excited about. It’s set in the near future. Bronwyn, the heroine, used to be the First Lady, but now operates a stop on the Railroad, an underground network that smuggles dissidents and members of the Resistance out of the former U.S. Then there’s the coming-of-age story I want to write, the one that chronicles three generations – son, mother, and grandmother – as each one leaves home and sets off across the country. I also have a story tickling the back of my mind about a teenager who goes to visit an uncle on a dig in northern Iraq and gets pulled into the Persian empire. (That one’s going to take some serious research.) And if I ever get time, there’s a summer camp novel I’ve been wanting to write…
And who knows. Maybe, after I’ve written a few more books, I’ll take Stephanie out again and find her a home.