Sunday, September 28, 2008

Inconclusive: A question for the commentariat

Hey there, to all y'all who have sent off book MSS to be reviewed: Did you ever hear of sending one off without a completed conclusion? I'm pressed to consider this option, given time constraints that forced me to prioritize revisions over new writing. I'd rather not do it, and if pressed, I could knock out 1,000 words of a projected 2,000-word conclusion, but they'd likely be very rough. But I've heard from more than one person that they managed to get a contract, with one of the revision provisions being that they write a (satisfying) conclusion. Then again, none of these people have been medievalists, so I'm wondering if it's field-specific.

Anyone ever heard of this? Done this?

Thanks for any and all replies.

7 comments:

hominy said...

heya! no clue but sending you hugs from one coast to another!

medieval woman said...

I've heard tell of a book mss been sent out for review with a more general conclusion - or a conclusion that you spent a week typing and then sending it - I think it's okay to have that be the roughest part of your mss.

Why are you under the time bind? Are they asking for it now even without a conclusion?

Notorious Ph.D. said...

@ MW: Tenure review. Thursday. So this has to go out before that.

Thanks for the comments so far; looking forward to seeing more as we go along.

Dr. S said...

A neighbor of mine last year had his book accepted (provisionally) by Cornell without a conclusion; he wrote the conclusion after I'd met him, and then they completely and for real accepted the book.

kydoimos said...

I'll second Medieval Woman on this.

I actually sent out (and published) my mss without any separate conclusion -- but the editor I had talked to also had spoken at an MLA panel on how she doesn't care for conclusions... Books in my field often don't really have conclusions, maybe a postscriptum or a 1000 words that broaden the final chapter into a wider perspective.

Good luck with it all!!!

Must also say, it's been amazing seeing you chip away at that word counter so steadily.

historiann said...

I sent my ms. off with an incomplete final chapter and only the barest sketch of a conclusion. My editor said it was OK, since the book was substantially there and gave the readers enough to go on as to whether or not I was capable of producing a publishable ms.

Your editor can provide you with guidance on this question.

Susan said...

I ditto Historiann. I sent out my manuscript as clearly a penultimate draft. The roughest part of all was the conclusion, which sort of said "This changed the course of western civilization" with no details. But, I said, the conclusion might be reshaped depending on the other revisions and comments, so it was better to wait.

I got the provisional contract, but everyone said I needed more in the conclusion. (Which I already knew.)

So I'd write something very provisional, and then tell the editor that it is provisional.