Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
I’m doing it again. Querying a novel. A few months ago I queried one that I wrote last year while the pandemic was still raging and even included a pandemic segment, so I thought agents might be intrigued. Nope. Not one request for the partial or full manuscript came of it.
Now I’m digging into my old oak barrels and pulling out a manuscript I actually wrote a long time ago, but I feel like it might have some wind under its wings in the current climate. It’s not much like other books I’ve written, but it could well be something that agents are interested in because it’s a speculative/dystopian story, and in some ways it feels like it could be torn from world headlines right now. Especially vis-à-vis Ukraine. It surrounds the invasion of an unnamed country by its ruthless neighbor and the flight from danger of the only man who might be able to save the nation—with his words. He’s a writer/teacher/philosopher, and he’s the only hope of the defeated population.
Yes, maybe words can save the world. I hope that’s possible, but like I said before, the meaning of words can be twisted.
This new/old book ironically has a timeliness that could be attractive. Worth a shot anyway, but I think this is the last of my older manuscripts I haven’t done anything with. The others are either unfinished or their trains have left the station topic-wise.
But let this be a lesson to you writers out there: Don’t throw anything away. Time goes on, things change, and what once seemed a lost cause could become the goose that lays a golden egg.
Photo by Christa Dodoo on Unsplash.
My dad wrote a handful of novels back in the 80s. Couldn’t get his agent to bite on any of them, so they weren’t published. I asked him a couple of years ago what he did with the manuscripts because I thought I could help him publish them now with the advent of indie publishing. He had thrown all of them away!! Sigh.
Oh man, that’s a shame! If I remember right, though, you did help him publish a couple, didn’t you?
The only manuscript he kept was a fictionalized version of his master’s thesis about Captain Jack and the Modoc Indians. He did publish that a few years ago.
Good luck Kevin! And appreciate the good advice.
Thanks, Bill! Agents seem to be lasered on certain kinds of books these days, but it’s always worth trying.
My manuscripts that I wrote some time ago and had many rejections on them are now published. I had to edit them within an inch of their lives. I had to update them, too.
Yes, older mss are always products of their time, so references to Atari and hot new songs by Tina Turner have to come out! 😉
I had to update about computers, IPad and phones.
For sure. Along with current events, celebrities, cars, clothes, etc. I guess one way around this is to write period pieces and historical novels! 😀
Yeah, I have like six old manuscripts, and as much as I think they’ll never be ready for publication, I can’t imagine ever throwing them away. In some ways, they act as a time capsule of my mind. Good luck, Kevin!
That’s true. These things are like journals, in a sense. And, for me anyway, they always have accompanying note files that act as a record of what I was thinking through the writing process.
I can’t imagine putting time and love into something and then throwing it away because some abstract publisher doesn’t approve or can’t market it.
I agree. I’ve lost a few things accidentally, but I’d never voluntarily delete something just because it didn’t get picked up. Life has too many twists n’ turns!
Maybe these old manuscripts can have new life because history repeats itself? I’m glad to hear that you still have manuscripts you want to give life to.
I’m always happy when something old holds up over time. You know, like us! 😂