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You’re not quite good enough.

4. April 2007

I got another very nice agent email that left me rather down. This one read what I call a ‘big’ partial (the first 5 chapters, rather than the usual 3). She had a lot of good things to say about the work. She liked the voice, the characters, etc. her major problem was that she thought I edited the book so much, I broke some things, giving the story some major storytelling flaws.
Wham. Sucker punch.

I mean really. I know I suck at editing. But I’ve been holed up under a rock for the past three weeks working my ass off to make these edits. And I failed. Again.
This agent kindly offered to read more if I made some major revisions (where have I heard that one before?). And you know what? Of course I will.
Here’s some of what she said:

I really like Jade’s voice, and I’m intrigued as to where the story is going, but I’m concerned that you’re skipping some of the action that’s central to the story. That could be an after-effect of a revision, but, for instance, when Jade meets TF she talks about already having met Mrs. Friday, but I didn’t read that. There’s also a number of times where it seems you skip over some very interesting action or backstory. I’m a big proponent of “show don’t tell,” but I feel like there’s several times where you’ve done neither, instead jumping right to what happens next. It leaves your reader feeling like they’ve missed some part of the story. I don’t feel like these first five chapters tell me enough about the secret martial arts school to justify Jade’s interest in investigating the birds, and her conversation with TF about the six birds is completely out of the blue — up to this point, your readers have only heard about two or three.
Basically, I’m torn. I’d like to read more, as I’m drawn to the fish out of water lifestyle Jade leads, and I love her interest in detection (I’m a huge fan of “Veronica Mars”). You’ve also set up some fun ancillary characters in Gung-gung and Fazza, and two very attractive love interests. That being said, however, I’d need to see that some of these concerns about the storytelling have been addressed before moving on.

The thing that’s really getting to me? She gets it. She looks at the things I care about most and liked them. that’s invaluable.

These agents are offering suggestions that have nothing to do with changing my vision for the characters and the basic premise of the story. Because everybody loves those. It’s the plot itself that just doesn’t want to work.
Strengths and weaknesses have never shone clearer.

But for now, I’m sad, so I’m taking a break. I’ll get back to work at lunch time, after printing the complete MS (which has expanded by a good 15 pages through the last edit). Then it’s Donald Maass’ workbook for this baby, and then we’ll see if people still want me to kick it up another notch.

Oh, and to end on an upbeat note, this is where I’m going to celebrate once I find an agent. Oooh yes.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Chick permalink
    5. April 2007 8:48 am

    You’re right to be thinking about celebrating – you are *so* close! Thanks for sharing the letter – I feel heartbroken for you but I have a feeling I’ll be logging on to happy news VERY soon.

    Luisa
    http://www.chicklish.co.uk

  2. GeminiWisdom permalink
    10. April 2007 6:17 am

    Wow! That’s some serious feedback. I like that kind of feedback even though it seems to set me back a little. And I have yet to do revisions myself.

    As for the future celebration…this hotel is in Australia? It’s frickin’ awesome! Very seen-and-be-seen type of place. When I get that advance check, the hubby and I are dining at Ruth’s Chris Steak House and then I’m buying a purse at the Juicy Couture store. LOL.

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