Friday, 8 February 2008

Salvage operation

I'm feeling fairly demolished, having just received a second agent rejection of the first crime novel. Don't worry, I got the crying jag out of the way earlier on, so this isn't going to be a self-pitying post. I am trying instead to salvage something positive from the experience.

1. Both agents requested a copy of the full ms. First time out for this ms and both got past the first hurdle. That's a positive, has to be.

2. The agents did not agree on the problems with the ms, so there is no negative consenus as such. This is both a plus and a minus, but I'm choosing to see its upside.

3. Both agents said encouraging things about my writing. The second even said, 'Your writing is wonderful and your characters really do come alive'.

4. The problem seems to be with plotting and structure. Possibly the pace is too slow; possibly there are too many povs. The good news is that I have an open door to discuss the issues in detail with the second agent, by telephone, in a week's time.

5. Both agents asked to see future work from me. So I can't be quite the lost cause I'm feeling myself to be right now.

Best of all, I keep telling myself, is the fact that I have a plot outline for a new novel (same characters, much stronger plot and structure), even if it will be an uphill struggle. But I've been wrestling this thing long enough to know I have what it takes not to give up now. I have what it takes to work damn hard to fix these problems and move on. It helps that there's no choice. I might wish all this didn't matter so much, feel so monumental in my life, to my life. But it does and, ultimately, that has to be a positive thing.


Rivers Fic said...

I agree with all the positive points you've made here, and most emphatically with the fact that you have what it takes.


Sarah Hilary said...

Thank you. I had to dig deep for the silver lining, I must admit, as the feeling of defeat was overwhelming, but I am nothing if not stubborn.

Leonie said...

Damn. You have my sympathy. But you KNOW that after all this you'll get the next one right. Record what the agent tells you when you speak!

I spent breakfast yesterday with my other Sarah friend who is going through exactly the same thing with her historical novel (including completely opposing comments from different agents and editors) - and she's majorly published as a biographer! So nil desperandum, sweetie - as you say, you are stubborn, and I still expect to come to you first launch party!

Sarah Hilary said...

Thank you - and for facilitating the contact with this latest agent, whose feedback was encouraging and the opportunity to discuss the problems in detail will be invaluable. Great idea about the taping - I'd not considered that. Thanks for the support, and you WILL get that invite one day, if I have anything to do with it.

TitaniaWrites said...

Well done for digging deep for the silver lining, I think we all have to do that every step of the way. There's no such thing as a smooth path to publication, there are just rungs of the ladder and your are moving steadily up them. The fact that Agent 2 wants to discuss this on the phone is EXCELLENT! And you already have another novel idea... you go, girl! You're on a roll...!


JohnA said...


Really sorry to hear this. What a game this is/ I'm certain tat one day this is going to work out for you and they will realise your potential.

Keep smiling - but then somehow I think you will.

Yer old mate jumbo!

Sarah Hilary said...

Many thanks, Tania and John. It sure is an uphill struggle (and do others feel as foolish, as amateurish as I do, each time I get a knockback - like I really ought to have cracked this by now, dammit?). It's lovely to have friends who support me through all this - writing may be a solitary business, but it helps not to feel so isolated at times like these.

Rez said...

Sarah, just to say how much I admire the steel in your spine. There's no question that these characters will find long and happy lives on bookshelves worldwide at some point in the not-distant future. Those who don't come to a sticky end by design, I mean. (More at the weekend.)

Sarah Hilary said...

Thanks, Rez. Yes it would be great to hear your thoughts before I discuss the problems with the agent next week.