Whether you want to be a great popular writer, or a literary writer, a poetic writer, an immortal examiner of the human condition, you must finish your writing in some readable form. You must finish a short story or you must finish a novel. Until you do that, until you have a finished work in hand, there is little or no reason to talk about publishing. Your main impulse must be to complete your story, or realize your concept for a novel to the very fullest extent.
I cannot talk here about the appetite for short stories. I don’t know enough about it.
But I can tell you when it comes to novels, the world is as hungry today as ever for new voices, new perspectives, new authors, new bestsellers. I doubt there has ever been a more vital time. The world today loves fiction in all forms. So be assured as you work towards the completion of your novel that there are indeed people waiting to read it, waiting to be blown away by it, waiting to find the next bestseller or the next literary genius.
It is true that on occasion, writers have approached publishers with incomplete manuscripts. I think Margaret Mitchell might be the most famous example. But this is rare.
What editors at New York houses want to see is completed work. They want to know that you as a writer can accomplish the full satisfying completion of your book. And you must put all your efforts into completion, into producing a finished manuscript that you are ready to show to the world.
As you work towards that goal, protect your vision, protect your story, your characters, from idle tongues, or cheap dismissal. Be careful as to who reads your work. And be ready to thank critics politely and ignore what they have to say. Criticism is easy. Anyone can tear a book to pieces. But writers are those who create books, in spite of critics, and that is what you want to be. I can’t emphasize this enough. Never take some one person’s negative view of your work seriously. Remember what you find useful in their criticism but remain faithful to your vision and keep going. Critics and perfectionists are destroyers. Writers create.
Anne Rice on Facebook, May 13, 2017