As an agent, I see all types of writing. I see some with a lot of potential but the premise isn’t there. I see some with fantastic premise and the writing is average. And then I see those that make me sit back and scream, “Why does this person even think they have a chance???” No I never say this to the writer. I admit I laugh about it a lot with the people in the room with me but that is it. Still, I do try and tell writers, as best as I can without going into a full line by line critique of the story why it didn’t work. But here is the thing. What if you get a ton of those? What if you are published and the story just gets tanked out there by the reviews?
I am sorry to say it but you have to say your writing is garbage. Now deal with it. No. I am not saying to quit writing. Keep doing that. Am I saying to give up your career? Not necessarily. What I am saying is to deal with it. Guess what the piece of writing was a piece of…. So deal with it.
Too often, writers are obsessed with “finding a way to fix it.” They seem to think with a little glue, a little tape and some time, the story can be salvaged. Again, sometimes that MAY be the case, but in all likelihood, you have to give it up. I am reminded here of that line in FINDING NEMO. Marlin and Dory are hanging on to the whales tongue and Dory translates what the whale says: “He says it is time to let go.” So do it with your manuscript. The time it would take to completely over-haul the piece of writing is far from worth it. It may be your first story and you love it a lot. So what. Put it aside and move on.
I would encourage you to review those notes you received carefully and learn to deal with it. I was working with some writers last night and before they got together to do some critique work, I required them to discuss the problems they have personally seen with their own writing to their CP. They were to pin-point the critique/reviews they received the last time and see if they are still doing it in the current WIP.
I want to return to FINDING NEMO again and DORY (she is a genius when it comes to writing). As Marlin is freaking out about going down the trench and into the dark she starts singing, “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming…” So you do the same thing. “Just keep writing. Just keep writing…”
Now off I go to wrap up a few projects before working this weekend at a swim meet.
Scott C. Eagan