Three weeks ago I mailed Agent A a query letter and one page synopsis. She responded via e-mail within a week, asking for first three chapters and full novel outline. I mailed them pronto. Within another week she PHONES me and leaves a message asking that I call her back. Whooeee! This agent is a biggee. So I call her back, her receptionist puts me on hold for maybe ten secs max. Heart palpitations. Surely the agent is calling to request representation. Then the Illustrious Agent is chatting with me, saying how much she loves my writing--- but that the novel doesn't quite have enough "heat." Big sigh.
But she wants to see something else of mine. So I describe the beginning of Novel Two (totally different from One) and she says e-mail it in Word, which I have done.
What's going on here? I'm encouraged to a degree. I suspect the story of Novel One didn't quite get it. It sounded to me as if Agent A is saying I've got the technical skills of fine writing, but it's what I'm writing ABOUT (i.e., compelling story) that is the hold up.
Sounds about right to me.
I'm not sure what the technical definition of "heat" is, but it's probably akin to what Miss Snark describes as "oomph". Does it produce a visceral reaction in the reader? Do you have to set the book down sometimes to catch your breath?
Sounds like you've got an agent on the hook to read your stuff! Burn baby burn!