Friday, November 30, 2007

Jim Thomas Likes it Gentle, But Not Enough

A reader sent in this Random House rejection, which is rife with disappointment:

"I really wanted to like this one, and a lot of it I do like....I was swept away by the love story. I think the [particular ethnicity] angle is used to good effect and makes this a little different from what's out there. There's a sweetness to [author's first name's] writing that's nice, too. Overall, however, I didn't find myself trusting the voice. Exposition and character don't feel as evolved as they should; they seem sketched out, a bit simplistic. It's too bad, too, because, as noted, there's a lovely gentleness to [author's first name's] hand. But not enough of this manuscript is hitting for me to feel comfortable taking it on and trusting that we can take it the rest of the way. Nick also read it and felt similarly, liking the love story but feeling a bit let down by the rest. Frustrating!"

I wish some fine editor would do a nice thing and actually edit a work that they like "a lot of." I guess an editor has to like all of it, or like it enough, or trust it more, and if he doesn't, I guess it doesn't matter how sweet and gentle the writer's hand is, or whether or not there was a sweeping away by good old fashioned love. Love is disappointing, after all, as is literature. (It can also be sexually frustrating, apparently.) Alas!

1 comment:

stampcollector said...

These rejections are so enlightening (as much as they are frustrating). Much of the process has been demystified, and I consider that a good thing.

I never thought that editors had to feel that they could "take it all the way"- it makes me think of prom night in the back of a fogged up limo. But then perhaps that's just me.