Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rejection Never Felt So Good!

I'm happy to report that I received a rejection letter from The Wild Rose Press today for partial manuscript, The Choir Girl.Here's the many reasons why I'm actually happy about this:

1) I told my critique partner, Kassy, about a week ago that I hoped TWRP rejected this manuscript because after re-reading it before sending it in, I felt that the writing was horrible. I think I described it as, "thirty-two thousand words of crap." Anyway, I didn't think that I would actually get that far when I submitted the query. The fact that an editor of a BIG NY publisher asked to see my manuscript was amazing.

2) I'm also happy that the editor sent me a genuine rejection, rather than a form letter. That's another first. In this rejection letter, she went into detail about what was wrong with my manuscript. Let's break it down:

3) There's too much narration that focuses on the past, rather than the current story. TRUE. When I murdered this novel a few months back, I mentioned that the entire story was based on something that happened in the past, how they were currently dealing with the past, and how the past will effect their future. PAST x 3 = YUCK. You can't create a story with past in the past, past in the present, and past in the future. It just doesn't work. Too much drama.

4) The dreaded POV shifts - head hopping - run rampant. I try really hard. I really do. But POV kicks my ass! I'm writing this beautiful scene with so much emotion, and I can only show you one side. Who's side do I show? And if I don't let the readers see some movement or facial expression on the other person, then it comes across as though they have no emotion. Both characters have to be involved in the action and emotion, but only one can have thoughts. I've been working with Kassy on POV for years. I don't know if I'll ever get it.

5) Christian fidgets too much. I'm going to have to go back and re-read the scene she mentioned, but I think I know what she meant. This is most likely one of those unintentional things. This is why it's good to let many people read your work before submitting because a scene can read one way to one person and another way to another person. I had to re-write chapter one because a member of my critique group said he disliked Ima because she snooty and self-absorbed. This is totally not the impression I wanted to give my selfless, church social director.

6) The progression of the romance needs work. This is most likely because the manuscript is not finished. Several chapters needed to be added in the middle to show this progression.

All in all, I think this was a very well-written rejection from an editor who cares about unpublished writers. How are we supposed to know what we're doing wrong if no one tells us? Thank God for TWRP!

Now I can lay this novel to rest. I murdered it. I resurrected it. But after receiving such a rejection, I feel that I don't have the passion for the characters that I once had. They aren't talking to me anymore, so anything further that I wrote about them would be strictly my words. I don't like my words. I like to let the characters do the talking.

Farewell, Christian Hogg.
Farewell, Ima Rayburn.

On to new projects. There are new characters in my head that need to have their stories told.

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