Dear Agent to Whom I Promised That Manuscript,
I didn't exactly lie when I sent you those 3 chapters and synopsis. I said I had a complete manuscript and that was not a lie. But I'd kinda left off part of the truth. What I didn't tell you was that the end of the story -- okay, much of the plot -- was an unholy mess. We're talking Eugenics and Victorian breeding programs and it was just...no. It was icky. I had 80K words but I'd say maybe 40K of them ranged from questionable to dreck.
Why didn't I follow standard operating procedure? I know what to do. Even fledgling writers know how it's supposed to work. So? Why didn't I wait until I had a polished finished manuscript to send?
In part because I was pretending I'm a professional.
I blame my "business plan" (See? That's a majorly professional sounding word right there.) My BP is to get back into the NYC world. That means that every now and then, I make the effort. I don't actually believe that it'll happen--I do it just to feel like I'm keeping to a schedule that is otherwise not in my control**. I've gotten used to producing 3 chapters, a synopsis and then, after I send out the little bundle, I check it off my to-do list and forget all about it. I go back to writing what I know will sell to the non-NYC world.
So when you sent back the "sure! Let's see the rest" note, I was mildly surprised. And then when you sent the "hey, I'm really interested, where is that ms?" note, I was petrified.
I can work fast -- I usually do. But that note about your interest. Man, it scared me. External pressure? Really? I vaguely recall that, but whoa.
Okay. Now it's about a month later and I have the finished manuscript (again) Do I send this letter to you? Are you still interested? Am I a loser for not being entirely honest up front? When I see you at RWA do I confess my sins?
So what do you think, rest of the world and maybe you, too, agent. Is it standard for everyone to allow a month or two to lapse between request and submission? I'd really, really hate that if I was an agent or editor. Sure, you guys always make writers wait, but that's the way of the world. There are a gazillion of us and a few of you.
** out of control part is what happens once I'm done with my bit:
write a best-selling novel.
Best selling? Sez you. Try selling--Not, responds agent, editor, booksellers, novel-reading public