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.


Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous 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.