Despite parting ways with my agent I am in my happy place this week; revising! Due to his changing business model my agent could no longer invest time in critiquing unpublished clients. While I was disappointed I understand. Things are tougher than they've ever been and not just for us writers. So what is a writer to do when their manuscript has been on submission for nearly a year and they suddenly find themselves agentless and not yet published?
Have your moment of sadness. Go ahead, you have permission. Done now? Get back to work! There is still a chance for that novel, in some form or another.
Sometimes you have to let your manuscript go. Knowing when to do that it isn't easy. Like I've said, you have to look deep into the heart of the novel and your characters. If you cannot change the muscles, sinew, and flesh of the novel and it won't sell, then you must let it go. However, if you can maintain the heart and the skeleton and transform everything around it, and still be in love with it, then do it! If you can't, put it away for a while. Perhaps it was a timing issue. You may be able to come back to it some time later and resubmit if you don't want to change anything about it.
I found I can take many of the elements that I loved from that novel and use them in a new one and you know what? I'm falling in love with this re-envisioned story. The new concept feels more like what the book should have been in the first place. Have you ever had to put a novel in a drawer or have you ever used something from an old one to make something new and different?