Things That Happen When You Write a Novel

If this encourages you, you're either A Real Author or you're experiencing some form of mental illness at present.
  1. You simultaneously believe it to be the most engaging story you've ever written and the largest heap of beetle dung on the planet.
  2. You gird your loins and create a query letter for agents. This requires more effort than anything you'll ever do, including childbirth. "Agents" live in Valhalla and are strictly theoretical.
  3. You send queries to carefully researched agents and await their replies.
  4. You learn to knit. You may or may not take up smoking, yoga or Xanax. You construct an entire city of toothpicks. You go through several nail biting and regrowth cycles.
  5. You begin to hear from agents, who say:
    Your baby is ugly. Your baby is ugly. Your baby is ugly. Your baby is ugly. Your baby is ugly.
  6. You receive an email from some who say, " Your baby is somewhat cute. Please send a full set of pictures so we can have a complete look."
  7. You hear from two or three after this who say: "Your baby is cute, but we don't like her enough to actually touch her."
  8. You hear from an agent, the most wonderful and exalted in Valhalla, who says, "Your baby is the most beautiful and charming baby I've ever met! I spent the entire weekend with her!"
    "But, there are some things about her that will require a trip to the baby plastic surgeon to make her even prettier."
  9. You follow instructions. You write. You send your baby back looking prettier.
  10. Not pretty enough.
  11. Not pretty enough again. Keep trying.
  12. Nope, still not pretty enough.
  13. You begin to hate your baby in a weird sort of literary post partum depression. Sometimes you want to throw her in the fireplace.
  14. You start over and create the baby worthy of sacrifice to Valhalla.
  15. You wait for a publisher who will fall in love with your baby. These are rarer than unicorns or anonymous vegans.
  16. Your beloved baby is followed by immediate pressure to HAVE ANOTHER BABY.