Wednesday, December 06, 2006

An Unfortunate Setback

After working on two revisions of my novel with an associate agent at a reputable and very established agency, she did not offer me representation.

All the while I was making her suggested changes to my manuscript, I was mindful to only make revisions I felt would truly enhance the story; that turned out to be an even wiser decision than I originally thought.

In the first revision I made for her, the focus was on creating a stronger opening by infusing a more specific "inciting incident" into the story. In the second revision, the task was to raise the dramatic stakes and introduce more playful prose and clever narrative strategies into the story. My novel, right from the very start, has always contained playful prose and clever narrative strategiies. Expanding those elements and heightening the dramatic tension were useful suggestions.

However, her rejection stated that she would most fully fall for something darker and with far more twisted thematic elements. Those are not "useful" suggestions for my particular story. To add those elements would be changing the story to suit this one agent's personal taste and vision for my book, and I don't think it's ever wise for an author to do that. I didn't exactly need to go through that four month long revision process with this particular agent to learn that lesson; I already knew that.

I wasn't looking for a free developmental critique of my novel; I was looking for someone to represent it. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't grateful for her solid feedback. Clearly my manuscript has been strengthened by her input. However it's not clear to me what this particular agent got out of the experience. And I'd be lying if said I wasn't disappointed.

Back to the mailbox . . . to send out a whole new batch of queries.

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