An agent has had the full manuscript of my second novel for six months now. They read the first three chapters in an anthology put together by the teacher of one of the courses I attended. I sent them the full manuscript and then sat back to wait. Many reading this will know what that's like - the obsessive checking of emails, the runs to the letterbox every time someone puts an advert for a restaurant onto the doormat, the constant checking that you have a good signal on the mobile phone. Actually, I've done none of the above. As far as I'm concerned it will be best if they never contact me. As things stand I can say, "My novel is with a leading London literary agency" and these are words I like to drop into any conversation I have with writerly types. Once they contact me the dream will be over and I will forget that novel for good. Meanwhile it's back to the poems. At least with poetry you can win some minor victories: a poem in a magazine here, a shortlisting for a competition there, an opportunity to read. With novels it's so all or nothing - unless your novel is permanently with an agent who is considering it. Did I mention that my novel is currently in the hands of a top London agency? And no, I won't be sending out any reminders.