Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Not Horrified Enough, Apparently

So, this rejection came in yesterday. The agent had read the first section in August and sent me an enthusiastic note about how much she loved it.  Then followed 6 months of radio silence, unless I prodded.  Now this:
I'm horrified it's taken me so long to get back to you about this. I'm sorry to say too that I don't think I'd be the best representative for [title of novel]. I was hooked through the moment of [first major plot point], but then I felt like the narrative...started to meander on its way to its conclusion (which struck me as a little too neat, weirdly)..... I'm so sorry not to have better news to deliver at such a late date. This was a close one for me, and I wish you the very best of luck in finding the best advocate for it.
Actually, the other close call I had at a mainstream publishing house, where the novel went all the way up the ladder, also involved a criticism about a too-neat ending.  That editor said she wanted the family to suffer more at the end. So maybe I'll take another look and see if I can add a few more layers or untie a few loose ends. But, anyway, it is disappointing, though I can't say I didn't see it coming.


Lit J said...

That actually seems like very helpful advice, especially since it's the same advice from two sources. Get your revision on.

Anonymous said...

I don't get this site. Why not take the time you spend moaning about how publishers won't accept your work and spend it working to improve your writing? All this energy spent on passive-aggressive "LOOK AT HOW BRILLIANT I AM BUT NO ONE GETS IT" rants...

Writer, Rejected said...

Every third month or so, someone comes around with just this very comment, as if a blog post in the morning somehow cuts into my writing time and takes up all my energy. Not so. I write every day. I send out my work constantly (as evidenced by all my many rejections), and I rewrite all the time. Blogging for me is like jogging or lifting weights: a good and necessary outlet. That said, thanks for reminding me that my whining and moaning and passive-aggressive or aggressive-aggressive attitudes are not universally appealing. I will take that under consideration. Also, why does no one get how brilliant I am? I've never understood that.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it sounds like you've actually had some helpful advice for a change. It also sounds like you won't need to revise all that much to make it work for the mainstreamies.

I cannot tell you how much I want to read your novel!

Because of this site, you could probably guarantee a publisher you'd sell several thousand advance copies, which surely is pretty good?! Or is it? I'm actually wondering what, in terms of numbers/sales, constitutes a "successful" book in literary fiction in the States?

Anonymous said...

I can't help but wonder what editors think about sites like these. If I were an editor, I'd refrain from writing personalized rejections or communications if I thought they were going to end up on sites like these.

Voracia: Goddess of Words said...

What's with all the naysayers? I enjoy this site and am glad you post to it. It is helpful to me as a writer and I'm sure that editors/agents have better things to worry about than whether someone is posting their words on a blog. (I don't get it, why would that prevent them from writing more rejections?? That's pretty much what they do, ha ha.)

That's an unfortunate rejection but I'm glad to see you're still going strong, looking into the advice they've suggested and revising. Best of luck with your novel, and ignore the haters. ;)

Anonymous said...

Yes, WR, why don't you spend the time you spend freelancing on your novel? How about all that time you spend with your family? Or working out. Or sleeping. I mean, come on, ALL you should be doing is working on your novel. I myself can only do one thing at time. Today, it's eating. Nonstop, buffet style eating. Tomorrow I will go to the bathroom, all day. Maybe get one of those padded seats.
Maybe the next day I will go to my job. But I will not do a damn other thing. Because it is all about the focus, people. And, also, you know since you are the only other writer blogging, clearly it can't work. Clearly you cannot blog and work on your novel. If you could, wouldn't like a million other people do that? But you, WR, are the only writer to attempt such a senseless feat. Why can't you just stop and focus?

Now get to work.

CAPSMAN! said...


Anonymous said...

Is there a full moon or something? Is it because WR is away?
What is going on with all the hateful/crazy postings?!

Chazz said...

So from what we've learned so far, next round of rejections after revisions:

"Horrified it's taken me so long to get back to you. I loved it, it started strong but I didn't feel that the narrative was wrapped up neatly enough. Too many loose ends for me but I'm sure someone else will fall in love with it."

I wish I was kidding WR.

Go with your gut. Yours. No one else's.

Melissa Banigan said...

Sounds like similar feedback from two separate sources- also sounds like you're THIS close to making your project great. Good luck, and good work!

Anonymous said...

If you were honest about the sheer number of hours you spend blogging plus the amount you pay for hosting and domain charges, the actual expenses would be huge. I'm just saying you could spend your time being positive and creating art. However well-intentioned this site is (and I'm not convinced it is), it's ultimately a bulletin board for whining and pity-parties. Have a boo-hoo on me. Thank you for considering my point--I'm sure you're the openminded type.

Anonymous said...

By the way, previous anonymous commenter, there ARE plenty of people who live, eat, and breathe writing. Who get up early and devote themselves to their craft, etc. They're called "professional writers." They're called published authors. They win awards and go to cocktail parties. What they don't do is go on blogs and cry about their rejections. Because they're "professional" about how they conduct themselves. Get it? Okay, I'm done here. And I'm not coming back. Peace out.

imelda marcos' red boots said...

Normally I wouldn't think a writer should change something as important as the ending just because an agent said so, but in this case, two agents read the full novel and came to the same conclusion. Hope you can turn it into something!

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Reminds me of how I used to get rejections for my stories being too bleak (i.e., everybody dies), so I wrote one where somebody got out alive, and it promptly got rejected for not being bleak enough. So I rewrote the ending and sold it to the place that wanted it to be bleaker.

Writer, Rejected said...

It's totally boo-hoo me. I'm with you on that point. That's pretty much all it is for better or worse, plus a little intelligent discussion about publishing, writing and strategy, here and there, and some humor. If you read the entries under the label "Personal Narrative" you'll see that I also use it for generating material and testing it out...hardly a waste. But seriously I spend way less than a half-hour a day on it, and blogger is totally free, so it's not as expensive as it seems. It's just, like, a hobby, or a job-related pass time. Plus, I have to say, I really like being part of a community; I consider the people who read LROD and comment to be my comrades in arms/pens. So, it gives me more than I give it, I think. Not to get all mushy here, but I love you guys.

gimme said...

"two agents read the full novel and came to the same conclusion."

Big deal. Most agents are morons. Anyone who changes their book because a couple of agent suggest it has no business writing a book to begin with.

Anonymous said...

Love you too, WR. Seriously, I come here every day, usually while I'm drinking my coffee before I start my work for the day - i.e. my real PROFESSIONAL writing haha.

And sometimes, when I take a break or finish for the day, I - gasp! - stop by here again.

Keep it up WR, please (the blog and your novel / other writing). Glad you are getting a lot out of your own site too, but you are also giving a lot to the rest of us! IMHO.

Z said...

"Also, why does no one get how brilliant I am? I've never understood that."

You know, I used to lie awake in bed every night and wonder the same thing: clearly I am brill. Ergo, the world owes me a living, right?

But THEN, I got it. I *am* brill, clearly...but brilliant in the FORTY-SECOND dimension, o ho ho ho! And you probably are, too!


So. Don't get me started on the idiotic notion that everything worth doing in life has monetary value. Did Plato sit and think about caves and sundered souls and I know not what because it earned him a comfortable six figures per annum?

Don't be absurd.

Lit J said...

Gimme, you don't change something because an editor or agent or workshop partner or anyone else tells you to -- you change it only if you realize they're right. It's like a click in your brain -- Aha! That was wrong! And now I know how to fix it!

It's not automatic, but sometimes they're right.

I think the better a writer is, the better they can separate advice into the "Take" pile and the "Discard" pile.

gimme said...

"I think the better a writer is, the better they can separate advice into the "Take" pile and the "Discard" pile."

I would say the better a writer is, the less use they have for advice, period.

That the whole "advice for writers" industry is many times the size of the ACTUAL writing industry should tell you a little something about the suckers who buy into it. And for some reason, anyone who has a file clerk job in the publishing industry feels qualified to tell authors "what is wrong with their manuscript."

However, I agree with you about the "click in the brain" and I agree that, theoretically, it could be triggered by someone else, even (gasp!) an agent.

I've just found that interesting writing is rarely the result of the committee approach espoused in workshop-land (which is where most agents come from, incidentally).

I also just lean toward thinking that if you're that susceptible to "advice" the book probably wasn't ready to be submitted yet.

CAPS MAN! said...




not really anon said...

Wow, this post touched a nerve!

Honestly, WR, you are getting so close. It's just a matter of time.

The lame-os above suggesting you write instead of blog? Lame. Sorry, but even the most diligent writers only have a few hours of real, creative, inspired writing per day. Blogging doesn't take the place of real writing. It takes the place of calling a friend on the phone and bitching.

I love this blog.

Anonymous said...

So true, Not Really, and well said. I love this blog too. The phone equivalent would require a party line the likes of which might cause AT&T to implode.

Although I guess we mice would be the equivalent of creepy heavy breathers listening in and grunting every now and then.

But yeah, of course there's room for blogging and real writing, at least if one IS a real writer!

dslr said...

nice blog... why don't you see mine!

The Literary Lioness said...

Don't worry, WR, many of us think that you and this site are brilliant. I honestly believe that blogging gets a writer's creativity flowing. Just ignore all the haters. Do they want you to do nothing but write 12 hours a day? Besides, sometimes writers get their best ideas when they're doing something entirely different and not just sitting at a desk trying to force themselves to write. Every writer is different, and you have to find out what works for you. Blogging is fun and you get to meet such interesting people! Writing can be so lonely. It can take months before you get any feedback. With a blog you can be read by many people around the world instantaneously.