Good evening all, and a happy belated new year.
It appears 2019 is going to be a year of change for me, whether I like it or not! I don’t deal well with change, especially when it’s forced on me, but developments in the day job mean more responsibility and a great big stumble beyond my comfort zone.
Oh the joys.
In other news, I’ve had my first rejections on the novel. Three, to be exact. Generic and uninspiring. After careful consideration, I’m afraid that Chasing Shadows isn’t for us / doesn’t fit with our publishing schedule / is a steaming pile of horse shit.
OK. So nobody said it was shit, but generic responses are not what I’m looking for.
I could just press on and find another six agents / publishers to sub to, but what’s the point in that? Another round of rejections and another set of people that I can’t re-submit to.
I know from reading others’ experiences that if an MS shows promise then some form of encouragement is usually included in the response from the agent, even if it’s still a rejection.
I thought about paying for a literary consultancy to assess Chasing Shadows, but what’s the point if I’m already having doubts that my MS isn’t all it needs to be?
So instead of forking out for an assessment, I’ve invested a small sum of money in a book on the editing process, written by the owner of a leading literary consultancy. I’ve read the book cover to cover, and whilst it’s not a cure-all and a surefire way to make my MS a bestseller, I can now see Chasing Shadows wasn’t even close to being sent out to agents.
So first things first, I’ve gotten rid of the prologue. Apparently, prologues put a lot of agents off, as it looks like you haven’t got a strong enough opening. Also, my prologue was written from a secondary character’s POV and not my protagonist. Also it was basically just backstory. Also… well, there was a lot of things wrong with it and removing it hasn’t detracted from the novel.
Secondly, my protagonist’s emotional arc needs a lot more development. The issues she deals with are personal to me and I suppose I’ve been frightened to ‘bleed onto the page’ so to speak. But if I want her experience to sound authentic, if I want my potential readers to sympathise and pull for her, then I have to put my fears aside and tell it how it is.
Thirdly, although I believed I had a handle on the infamous Show Don’t Tell thing…. I really, really hadn’t. I tend to write naturally in first person viewpoint, and whilst Chasing Shadows was written in multiple close third person (by necessity of the plot), I’ve used the opportunity, subconsciously, for my characters to provide a running commentary on proceedings by way of their thoughts, instead of being subtle and using the way they interact within the scenes to simply hint at their thoughts and emotions, allowing the reader to fill in the rest.
So I have much revising to do. Starting with a total rewrite of at least the first two chapters.
Have I already said FML???
The only thing keeping me sane is that I’m confident my plotting is sound. Until I decide that it isn’t.