The past week was not a great one for me, as far as my writing is concerned. The issue with having to rewrite a chapter plus too many other things going on (work and personal) meant that I have fallen off my schedule for my rough-draft completion date. No, it’s not going to kill me if I’m a month late, it’s just not what I had hoped for. Still, I’m in control and I will work everything out in the best manner that I am able.
But on top of loosing two weeks of time, I also received my forth form rejection for the manuscript I’m currently circulating. While this isn’t a huge deal, because I’ve now only sent out fifteen queries and have only heard back from four, this one was disappointing because it was someone I thought would be a good fit.
Still, my goal is always to handle these things with grace, so I took a deep breath and closed the email. But then I started thinking. If someone I thought would be such a good fit for me didn’t like the story, then what am I doing wrong?
Unfortunately I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that there were some serious issues with the manuscript ever since I started sending it out. And the biggest of these is that I’m trying to sell this as YA, but the reality is that the story may just be too detached. The protagonist may be too reserved and calculating for a YA audience to relate to. And while that’s certainly a part of her persona, what I really think is that the story was worked on for so long, was worked over so many times, that maybe somewhere between drafts it lost its heart.
How difficult a balance it is to strike, between keeping the writing clean and polished, but also providing enough color for the audience to grasp. I think I probably was so focused on polishing, plus so embedded in the world, that I lost track of which details needed to stay, that I over-edited, and the resulting manuscript may seem a bit too cold.
I’m not sure if these are the reasons I’m being rejected. Maybe it is the fact that, though a steampunk work, it has too many dystopian elements. Maybe my writing just sucks. But I think that, since it has now been almost six months since I said “Done” that it might be the right time to go back and reevaluate what I’m sending out, since what I’ve been doing so far obviously hasn’t been working. But either way, I’m not losing heart, I’m not giving up. I will write until the day I die, and if I never get picked up by an agent, then so be it.
After all, there’s always self-publishing.