Pub Rants


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STATUS: Tired. Super late day at the office. The computers transitioned to the new place today so I didn’t have access for most of the day as the network was being reconfigured. Also, I just switched over my blog to Google so there might be some quirks.

What’s playing on the iPod right now? CHASING CARS by Snow Patrol

Sara had to forward this one to me. We got a query that said, and I kid you not, that this writer had had a dream, was convinced that it would make a good book, and would we be interested?

Uh, no.

Makes you wonder what the person was, um, taking right before going to bed.

Still, it does allow me to point out what should be obvious. Complete your manuscript before querying agents (that is unless you are writing nonfiction and then all you need to do is put together a proposal and sample chapters). Memoir can go either way. Sometimes they can sell on proposal but for the most part, it’s like fiction and you need the whole thing to be complete.

22 Responses

  1. Anonymous said:

    I have had some really great book ideas come from dreams, but as you pointed out…manuscript first query second.

  2. katiesandwich said:

    Yeah, my current WIP was inspired by two dreams I had, but the story is quite different now. And thanks a lot for that title (sarcastically); now I’ll have that song stuck in my head until Tuesday!

  3. Lena Genster said:

    Oh Kristin, this is where they all come up with their million dollar ideas :)It’s the looney tune pipleline to fiction.

  4. Kim Stagliano said:

    Gee, it would have worked for MLK Jr.! LOL. I saw my book’s outline in a pot of Sunday gravy that was bubbling on the stove. Right there, between the bay leaves and the San Marzano tomatoes that breaking down so nicely. Goal! Conflict! Disaster! Happy Ending! The book is great. The sauce burned.

  5. Anonymous said:

    Question Kristin – I’m a published author. Several years with H/S. As a published author – do you still think it is mandatory to have the completed manuscript? Or woud you consider taking an author on based on just a proposal.

  6. Josh said:

    Was it that dream where you’re running away from this enormous monster with pinwheels for legs and then you realize it’s yelling at you in your mother’s voice and you’re naked, and now the monster are all those bullies from high school chasing you through the locker room and you feel like you’re running through jello and then you wake up all sweaty and hyperventilating, only to realize you didn’t wake up at all because the monster jumps on you and eats your face so you really wake up screaming and waking the entire house at 1am?

    ‘Cause I had that dream once. I think it’d make a great book. Call me. We’ll deal.

  7. Demon Hunter said:

    Most of the dreams I’ve had could not possibly be produced into a book. My dreams are all over the place and make no sense for the most part. I’d rather not use them, but that’s just me!

  8. Rashenbo said:

    I once had a dream that I would win the Powerball… where’s my winning ticket? 🙂

    Dreams are a good source of ideas sometimes. But they often need quite a bit of flushing out and development. It’s one thing to chit chat about an idea… it’s something completely else to turn it into a full length novel that people would actually choose to read.

  9. Maprilynne said:

    My book’s basic magic system is based on a dream, but the dream was more the catalyst for the raging river of creativity that burst from it.

    It’s really funny to look back at that dream now because the teeny-tiny similarities between it and my book are just laughable.


  10. Anonymous said:

    Shame on that person for being creative… bad writer! The temerity of the fool, to assume he/she would be able to get a book out of a dream. Who does he think he is? Stephen King?

    Yeah, you’re all right. No one ever gets an idea from a dream and runs with it. They shouldn’t dream at all. Maybe some manner of shunt can be installed into that writer’s brain, to make sure he never dreams again. He can work at a 7-11, after turning in his computer, and just do that until he dies of Slurpee poisoning.

    You are all so much better than the dreamer. Keep pumping out those romance turds, oh Flock of Biddies.

  11. Anonymous said:


    I just want to tell you that I think you are great. I have learned sooo much from reading your blog, and think that it is really fantastic that you take so much time to share these little pieces of your life with us. It is wonderful that you have embraced the use of technology in the running of your business, in an effort to speed up the process and to save unpublished authors a few bucks!

    Also, I appreciate learning about the finer points of agenting, most especially when it comes to contract clauses and negotiations.

    There are so many readers here who are so loyal, and it is good to see so many (some of whom are published authors!) showing you such wonderful support. The negative nellies are everywhere on the web, unfortunately, and most of us choose to ignore them with extreme prejudice.

    If I knew how to make a smiley face and a heart on a blog post, I would!


  12. Zany Mom said:

    Geez, anon 12.59. Lighten up!

    I understood this post to mean that the person who sent the query was querying with the DREAM IDEA, not a finished manuscript.

    Heck, my first novel sprung from a dream that took hold and wouldn’t let go (I can imagine all sorts of things and ‘dream them’ at night, when the house is still).

    It’s not that using a dream as fodder for the novel that was amusing, so much as the fact that the querier obviously didn’t do their homework to know that you don’t query without the finished work ready to go.

    A Zany Biddie

  13. Anonymous said:

    You are all so much better than the dreamer. Keep pumping out those romance turds, oh Flock of Biddies.

    You’re an idiot.

  14. Diana Peterfreund said:

    Anon H/S author at 8:19… Kristin doesn’t respond to comments, but check the submission guidelines on her website. Many agents accept proposals from previous pubbed authors.

  15. Conduit said:

    I made a post about the topic of dream-inspired stories on my own blog not that long ago. I asked the question there, but nobody answered it cos no-one reads my blog (boo-hoo!) – does anyone else out there occasionally dream in logical narrative structures with actual fully formed characters and dialogue? I do.

    My current complete, polished arrived in a dream. It wasn’t fully formed, obviously, but the basics of the plot and two of the main characters (complete with personalities, voices and physical attributes) are as they appeared in the dream.

    My new WIP appeared in a dream, and I mean pretty much the whole thing – plot, setting, characters – all of it. And it’s a pretty specific setting – Poland in September 1939, just as the Wehrmacht is about to sweep through the country.

    I guess all stories come up from our subconscious, just in different ways. BUT … obviously you need to write the bloody novel before you try to sell it!

  16. whitemouse said:

    My problem is that I wake up from dreams convinced that the dream would make an utterly awesome story.

    These story ideas inevitably turn out to be vampires – they fly by night, but perish in the light of day.

  17. Southern Writer said:

    The manuscript definitely comes before the query, but I know one author whose book was based on a dream. It didn’t hit the best-seller list (it’s a textbook), but it revolutionized the field he’s in.

  18. Termagant 2 said:

    Conduit, I’ve gotten entire stories in sequence, from time to time, in dreams. Doesn’t happen often enough to suit me. But normally if the dream is that structured, and that vivid, and if I like it, I can morph it into a story. One of them sold, so far–the other’s under consideration.


    And PS, anon 12:56 — if you don’t like romance, don’t read ’em. We’ll all write them just fine without you.

  19. Michele Lee said:

    I get some great concepts, what if, character idea and plain old emotions or ideas to invoke from dreams. but 1. I wouldn’t say so in my first contact with an editor/agent. 2. A concept/what if/emotion does not a novel make. I use these things. I don’t use depend on them.