1.29.2006

Translating "not right for me"

Unless I misread your blog (which I love!) and totally misunderstood (which happens to me sometimes), it seems that an editor who rejects with "this isn't right for me" is nicely saying "your writing isn't quite up to par".

I've got two rejections of this type from editors responding to my agent's pitch, although both love my premise and hope I find the right home for my novel.
So my question is this: are they really speaking in code and saying my writing isn't up to par? Or are they really just saying what' on their mind and that it isn't right for them? My agent says not to worry, this isn't necessarily indicative of where I'm heading because it's only two rejections (and he has many more editors to pitch to). But it still makes me wonder.


Wonder not. Your agent is right. If your writing sucked, you wouldn't have an agent. Believe that if you believe nothing else.

Editors don't have the luxury of publishing everything they love. They have to answer to the higher ups who will point out that the last book XYZ published about dancing poodles did a major header DOWN the sales charts. Woe to the next dancing poodle story, regardless of writing.

And editors don't like everything that's well written. All you have to do is publish a list of "Ten Books That Rocked My World" and you'll have differing opinions coming out of the woodwork, thick on the ground, and cluttering up your bandwidth.

Writers obsess. It's one of the things that makes you good: obsessing about words, rhythm, punctuation, character, plot, and all the other things in a novel. However, obsess ONLY about the things you have control over. Time to go obsess about that tricky bit of dialogue in chapter three of the next novel. Leaving obsessing about lamebrained, half wit, slimey...err, I mean over worked and under appreciated editors to your agent and me. We've had LOTS of practice.

9 comments:

Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

Tell Me

An Insta Poem® by Rachael

Is there a way (oh, can you say)
To tell if your agent is nuts?

Were they driven that way by Editors
and minions,
Or just by writer's opinions?

Writers stay sane if they wear wolf bane,
But what keeps an agent from going loony?

Is it turning to that pail again?
Or is it whistling all out of toonie?

Is that gleam in their eye insanity?
Or the pain of a thousand paper cuts?

Ok, best I can do on one cup of coffee.

Anonymous said...

Writers obsess.

Oh boy. So it's a shared trait. Wired to get just right what can't be done. (The transfering of emotion into words.) Poor things. But, he protests, I only obsess over words, and phrases. He thinks he better take another look.

Brady Westwater said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brady Westwater said...

"Writers obsess. It's one of the things that makes you good: obsessing about words, rhythm, punctuation, character, plot, and all the other things in a novel."

I don't think I have ever read a better description of the obsession called... "writing".

Brady Westwater said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I'm in the same situation, but my rejections came from the agents I queried. My query and synopsis got me in the door, but I didn't stay long because the story "wasn't right for them" or it wasn't "strong enough for commercial fiction." I don't expect anyone to give me a line by line critique, but I wish I had some idea if it means "you can't write" or "the story won't make it." My first reaction was to sign up for a remedial writing class. Writing 101. If I hear the same thing from the editor who has my full manuscript, I'll know it's time to put those pages out of their misery.

kathie said...

Thanks for great words of advice...the post and your reply was just what I needed to hear.

Remodeling Repartee said...

Dog, that is it "write" on the head, the obsession part. I'm deep in it as I try to get my manuscript out by tomorrow.

Who was it (I think a poet) who said that a work is never finished, you just abandon it at one point?

Anonymous said...

It was Picasso...I think