I've been writing seriously for more than three years now. I have three completed novels. My first is a fantasy, my second is a paranormal romance, and my most recent is a dystopian fantasy.
And no...none of my novels are published. I am currently sending queries for PERFECTION and crossing my fingers.
I just wanted to share with you what I have learned.
My first completed novel, Krelis, is bad. I'll say it. It really is. Part of the reason for that is I tried to stick to the rules completely, and I wrote out my voice. (I did a blog about the rules earlier.) While editing, I forgot the most important rule. Voice. I wrote my voice right out of the book. Just remember, the rules are there, use them wisely, but don't forget your voice. I sent out queries...not one (not one) request.
My second novel...I wrote it the way I wanted, and went back and edited. I used the rules, but I kept in what I thought was important in keeping my voice. The book was better, and I actually learned a little more about queries...I actually got a full request. Yes, said agent (a wonderful agent by the way) passed, but it was a step closer.
Now with my third...One thing I have learned is to use the rules even more wisely and keep my voice. And once again. The rules are there, sometimes they are meant to be broken, others times maybe not, just use them wisely and remember voice, voice, voice. I honestly believe that is the most important element in writing a great story. Voice is what draws the reader in to your story, into your world, and breathes life into your characters.
I have a couple of queries out for Perfection, and I'm waiting. I've already got one rejection (by a most wonderful agent) but that is okay. I'm still waiting. Testing the waters with my many-times revised query.
What I wanted to share with everyone is don't give up. Learn. Writing is a never-ending learning process. And I believe with every book I've written (and you have written) your voice becomes more defined, your story-telling capabilities mature, and your wonderful story will shine.
Don't ever give up.