I have recently learned ’tis a wonderful thing to have an agent request your manuscript, yet the moment becomes bittersweet when you don’t have a completed work to send.

I know a very important rule for writers: don’t attend a pitch session if your manuscript isn’t finished. It’s a waste of time for editors and agents who are attending to find and sign new talent. And it’s just as moot a move for you. No one will take a chance on an unproven fiction writer, no matter how compelling your first page, first chapter or first half of the book is.

The good news is that I did not attend a pitch session. I attended a critique fully expecting to be critiqued. What I got were the words every writer dreams of: “You have to send me your manuscript.” Alas, I cannot send an incomplete work. It’s excellent incentive to keep moving forward with my novel, but disheartening to know that I have every opportunity to louse up a perfectly good half-finished story.