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Friday, December 21, 2007

The Ghost of Christmas Past (Not Enough Detail)

A reader sent in an excerpt from this strange agent rejection:
"Dear Writer: We loved this idea, and we found it very fresh and charming. We were eager to dive into your work! We liked the double narrative from [name of character] and [name of different character], and we think you really structured your story well.

....Unfortunately, we didn't feel like there was enough descriptive detail about [specific topic addressed in novel] past here – the glamour days of [place addressed in the novel] didn't really come alive for us on the page. Since this recreation of the past is crucial to the storyline, we felt that without it, we weren't as caught up in your characters and their lives as we wanted to be."

They love, love, love it.....but not enough. Note the hairpin turn at "unfortunately." Damn the past and its lack of details! Also, what's with the royal we? That's a whole lot of douchery.


J.David Bodzin said...

I'm just a novice, but what is so bad about this letter? It sounds as though the publisher is very interested in the book and has some constructive criticism to help make it perhaps a bit better. Is it so uncommon for an author to receive such criticism by a publisher?

Anonymous said...

It's disingenuous and confusing. "We loved it...charming....eager.." plus positive comments on structure, etc. Then the big "UNFORTUNATELY... "

LIsten, you've said you're a novice, and no one wants to make you feel jaded too soon. But you'll understand after you collect a big pile of rejection crap. You'll be able to sniff out the phony stuff, too, Grasshopper.

Anonymous said...

It seems like if they really loved it as much as they said they did, they should have simply asked the author to add more detail.

Would scattering 30 or 40 pages of details into 300 or 400 pages really be that hard?

J.David Bodzin said...

Ah, I think I see your point now.

If they actually wanted to publish it they would have accepted it assigned an editor to work with the author.