Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sometimes The Story Just Doesn't Work

I have found myself saying the same thing a lot in recent replies to submissions. "The over-all story just didn't work for me." Simply put, the story just didn't resonate enough with me to want to read more.

Now, I understand that many writers would get frustrated with this. There is a desire to "fix it" and "make it better." I know this as well since I receive many follow up letters asking for advice on how to make improvements to the story. Unfortunately, there is simply no solution to this. You are now experiencing that wonderful world of subjectivity that we find in the publishing business.

As an agent, I (along with all of the other agents out there) have to really love a project. I heard an editor comment once that we have to love it so much that we will have read it numerous times before we even think about sending it out for others to see. It works the same way with reading submissions.

Sometimes, the story just doesn't sound like something we want to take on. The writing may be fine. The author may be fabulous. I don't care if the story is something that has marketing potential, we want to find the story we love. The more we love a story, the more likely we will be wanting to really sell it to those editors.

My whole purpose for writing this today is simple. Remember that this business is subjective. It's as simple as that. What works for me might not work for someone else. That's OK! Along the same lines, if you do receive a letter like that, don't panic! Don't try to fix it. Just find that "right home" for it.

Have a great day!


1 comment:

  1. I love this post. It's what made me put aside my last piece of work and decide to move on (for the most part). Sometimes there's nothing to fix in a story line; sometimes it's just not what the agent/editor wants, whether it's unoriginal, too small of a niche or whatever. I think sometimes writers get so stuck on the current WIP they forget that they still have other stories to write.