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Author Topic: Stating that your manuscript is complete in query  (Read 494 times)
kaperton
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« on: December 07, 2018, 01:51:09 PM »

I'll admit I can be a grumpy person and I have way too many pet peeves, but can we talk about the phrase most people use, that their manuscript is "complete at X,000 words"? Doesn't it go without saying that your manuscript is complete? Why would you be shopping around an incomplete manuscript?

To me, it's like adding that phrase, "My manuscript is available on request." It's stating the obvious and strikes me as amateurish. What do you guys think? It's okay if you tell me I'm just being nitpicky. I know I am!
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jcwrites
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2018, 01:58:34 PM »

Take a deep breath....

There....

Now, don't we feel better?

: )
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Tabris
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« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2018, 03:55:37 PM »

I think the #1 agent pet peeve is people "querying too soon," and one form it takes is querying a manuscript that's still in rough draft format and only six chapters long. People do this "because agents take so long to get back to you" that they figure they can double up the time by finishing the book while the agent is getting around to it.

So that phrasing may be the writer trying to ease the agent's heart: See? It's complete.  innocent
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kaperton
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« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2018, 05:27:12 PM »


So that phrasing may be the writer trying to ease the agent's heart: See? It's complete.  innocent

Thank you, Tabris! This makes me feel better about it. I must admit, I did start querying when my manuscript still needed some work (despite all the advice not to do that), thinking I'd have plenty of time to work on it before I got any responses. And then I got a request for a full and was scrambling to fix all of the mistakes. Yikes!
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AvidandManic
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« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2019, 12:02:53 AM »

Of course it is sort of absurd to say the manuscript is complete at 80 K words etc.

I think that for one reason or other, etiquette, or should we say rituals, command us to clutter our discourse with a lot of useless filler.  For example, years ago a politician would not say "we must have a strong defense."  Rather, he would often say, "I should say that we must have a strong defense." In Britain, members of Parliament are introduced as "My right honorable..."

Also, in another thread I noted that resumes often conclude with big block letters saying "References," and this is immediately succeeded with "available upon request." 

Sometimes, I think people insert useless verbiage as they think additional length will connote a higher IQ
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neverish
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« Reply #5 on: March 11, 2019, 10:54:36 AM »

I've honestly seen this so much in queries -- particularly successful queries (of which I read a ton, admittedly) -- that I thought it was just what people did for the exact reason Tabris points out. "No, honest, guys! I really did edit the heck out this thing!"
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rivergirl
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« Reply #6 on: March 13, 2019, 06:05:46 PM »

I've actually heard of authors selling incomplete books based on reputation and a killer first few chapters. Pretty sure this is going to be rare, however.
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