Obligatory Chapters

Each time I go through my novel and pass the end of chapter three, I stop thinking about an agent’s temp reading it and it always improves. Three chapters is all agents claim to want from unsolicited submitters. I actually don’t believe this. Three words is probably all they want. “I Am Famous.” All my covering letters start with this. I am Ian Duncan Smith, The Quiet Man. Suckers!

Most authors probably think they should send agents a fait accomplii, ie the whole novel. That’s okay if it’s not very long, but they’re looking for 600 pages these days. Best not to bother agents at all and try to find a good small press looking for someone outside the literatii. These are usually in the process of dying.

So, this week I went through my novel up to Chapter 4. When it’s bad, it’s very bad, when it’s good it’s okay. Being the harshest critic, I’d ditch the whole thing and start again, but then I’ve been working on it for years and it’s limped on far longer than any previous effort. I must give it a chance.

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