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Entering A Dialogue

28. February 2007

I got my first reply from an agent today that wasn’t some form of “Nice try, play again later” brush-off.
This agent read the full in a single day and sounds *very* enthusiastic about it, which makes me very excited. She’s not ready to take on the project, and has pointed out a major flaw to me. So now I have to decide whether I want to rework the story. My gut instinct says yes, since one part she was concerned about was a part I struggled with, too.
I won’t make any changes to the MS as of yet, but I’ll be working on a new plot line, basically.

There is so much to like about your manuscript. I like the concept, White Girl in the Wong Family, a lot. I like Jade’s voice. I like her wacky family and her schoolmates. I like TF and Cedric. I love the parrot squawks.

The concept, the voice, the humour and the boys are what’s dearest to me in this story, so I’m glad she liked them.

Sometimes I felt your use of slang/vernacular worked incredibly well (Dim Sum, R ‘n B, EASY-Stud, etc.) and in some places it didn’t (no shit Sherlock and nifty seemed like her parents’ generation, not Jade’s). Could be your age or your location. Not a big deal, but Jade’s slang should be double checked to make sure it rings true with a teen’s authenticity (like you advise others on your blog.)

Could be the fact that I was never an English-speaking teen… but good on her for calling me out on not practicing what I preach. Even though my teen speak ‘source’ says “No shit, Sherlock” a lot (and she’s now 18ish, I think), I’ll give her that.
I hate people reminding me of my age though, mainly because it makes me feel old. >_< Note to self: write younger.
She also talked about some minor fixes like scene transitions and the fact that I never describe Jade, the heroine. Fair enough.

The one thing that did [present a problem] was the way you spend half of the book with the mystery of the parrots and the other half with Jade at school. 50-50. I felt tugged each time you switched back and forth. I would advise you to make this book mainly one or the other (the mystery I guess, although I was more intrigued by the ‘White Girl in the Wong Family’ aspect.) But of course this depends on whether you are going to keep Jade as a continuing character in a series, each one with her solving a new mystery.

When I started this book, I started with the parrot idea. You get bonus points if you get the original reference (kids solving a mystery using trained parrots spewing forth slightly wrong quotes). but I’m not a mystery writer. Suspense is not my strength. So I got sidetracked into the everyday life of Jade and her schoolmates. The parrots became a vehicle for the plot I really wanted to talk about: a secret society and a girl’s double life. That’s what the series I envisioned is about.
So what to do? Cut the parrots I worked hard on, but that never quite fit, or make it work and cut back on the real life banalities? It’s a very tough choice.

All in all, I’m very excited about this dialogue (in case you couldn’t tell ^_^), and now it’s time to do my homework. Rework the book and do some research on this agent (hey, no matter how much I love her enthusiasm and critique, I want to know who I’m dealing with, right?).

Stay tuned on where this is going.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. GeminiWisdom permalink
    28. February 2007 11:05 pm

    Two agents have said they like the concept and the voice, but that the plot moves too slowly and the conflict/hook don’t happen quickly enough. Or somthing like that. With just those two remarks, I’m wondering if I need to start reworking it. My hubby thinks I should wait and see what other agents–who’ve asked for partials–have to say. Hopefully, someone will see it’s potential, say “I’ll take you on–but it needs some work.” I don’t mind doing revisions.

  2. Kiki permalink
    1. March 2007 12:08 am

    Hey GW.
    At the end of the day, I reckon it’s all about what changes you are comfortable with.
    If you don’t want to increase your pacing, you shouldn’t. if you feel that yes, maybe you are taking it a bit leisurely, maybe it’s time to tighten it.

    By the way, I really like your attitude and style. If you’re looking for another reader/crit partner, I’d be happy to read your stuff!

  3. GeminiWisdom permalink
    1. March 2007 4:40 pm

    I am looking for a crit partner, actually. I’m stuck and need some help. Contact me and we’ll talk.

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