Tuesday, September 26, 2017

What’s *NOT* Working?

I’ve received editorial feedback along the lines of—“I like the premise, but not the voice.”


This usually means the idea & setting were good. But “the voice” (the personality of the narration, i.e. my writing) didn’t appeal.


 I’ve received editorial feedback that said, “I like the voice, but the plot is full of holes.”

This generally means that my writing is appealing, but either the premise or the unfolding of it isn’t working.


I’ve received editorial feedback that the writing was skilled and the characters appealing, but this and that detail ultimately made this story commercially unviable.

This usually means it’s pretty good, but needs more fixing than editor has energy or passion for and, frankly, hotter properties are flowing in the transom with abandon.


And these were reactions to the same manuscript.


I’d like to learn from everyone. But this is confusing, confounding, and crazy making. (The three “C’s for short.)


What these reactions have in common is simple: we don’t want to pursue this to publication.


Where they differ also contains a shared a point. It tells me something is off, whether the feedback has labeled it or not.



What’s a storyteller to do? Let it sit. Let it sink. Then get back to work.
Don’t give up, because that’ll not even be a C. Giving up, while legal and legitimate, is also an automatic F. 


22 comments:

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    1. You may have said it first... We keep trucking.

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  2. Well, shoot. You can't put much stock in these without examples. Keep sending out your ms. And good luck!!!

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    1. Yup, global negations are of not much help. But I get that busy editors are under no obligation to be helpful in this way to submissions they have not contracted.. That's where Beta readers and critique partners come in.

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  3. Thank you so much, Mirka! I love your candid and oh so true peek into the rejection comments we all receive. I've had an editor say that she loved everything about the manuscript and it was a book that every child needed to have...but...no thank you because it was a bit too quiet for their list. And I think that is the key...the manuscript has to land on the desk of the editor who falls in love with the concept so much, that she is willing to work with the author to make it how it needs to be.
    And I LOVE your 'keep on trucking' attitude because the only way we won't get published is to stop trying. ;)

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    1. You got it, sister! Keep on keeping on, indeed.

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  4. Hugs to you, Mirka. I wish every response were an acceptance, but we both know it just doesn't happen that way. I'm sorry for all the conflicting rejections. You're right--that's just confusing and crazy-making. I have my fingers crossed for you that more positive feedback will be on its way soon.

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    1. Thank you, Ev. You are a Beta that gives very specific and fixable/correctable feedback. You know my work.

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  5. I think the fact that the feedback is conflicting means that:
    1. It's not right for *that* editor right now;
    2. They're all wrong and the ms. is fine as is; and
    3. The ms. hasn't landed on the right desk yet.

    Don't feel that you have to radically change it unless one of these criticisms resounds with you. It is probably exactly right for Future Editor Who Hasn't Seen It Yet.

    Hope he or she finds it soon!

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  6. That's so frustrating Mirka - I'm having the same problem - it's heartbreaking. I think the best thing to do is just keep writing, and improving your craft. The important thing is you have great ideas - lots of people can write well, not everyone has original ideas!

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    1. Yes, I agree. *The writing* is the real thing in this melange.

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  7. This is why reading is so subjective. Reviews on best-selling books are so varied because it all comes down to what that individual likes and doesn't like.

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    1. I listened to a conversation between Stephen King and John Grisham (videotaped with an audience) and they both credited the same editor of a small press who gave them their first break after many rejections of their break-out books. My take is to NOT give the all-over-the-place (inconsistent) feedback global authority, even as it is stated with such authority.

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  8. Hugs, Mirka! I'm going through this with one of my projects at the moment . . . I'm hanging onto Barbara's thoughts about the Future Editor Who Hasn't Seen It Yet, and in the meantime, I'm revising something else.

    Yep, keep trucking! It's the only way to get There.

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    1. "Yep, keep trucking! It's the only way to get There."
      There, and anywhere...

      Good luck, Sarah!

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  9. Absolutely, don't give up. Love what Barbara said about your ms not landing on the right desk yet. And the critical bits are that:
    1. You have a manuscript ready.
    2. You are actively sending it out.
    3. You're receiving feedback (although they contradict) so you have this chance to check in with your instincts. Do you think it's the plot, the characters, the writing? Or a steady - 'My elements are where they should be?'

    Best of luck with this ms, dear Mirka. I'm rooting for you!

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    1. Good to see you back here, Claudine! After some unsuccessful attempts to allow your comment to publish, I re-visited my comment-moderation page and clicked on a few things, and voila—success! It’s a mini testament to perseverance paying off, just as you suggested I do here^ ;)

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    2. So glad it came through. Thank you for persisting, Mirka! I picked up a quote somewhere and it's in my special journal: Hard work pays off.

      Trust that and do whatever you can to make sure stories that matter to us are shared with others. In only the way you can. *wink

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