As It Is Written

I have failed, utterly and totally. Yet I feel irrationally exhilarated.

The agent I’ve been trying to please with a rewrite for the last year and a half (!), just sent me a final rejection, door shut, not even opened a crack. Instead of feeling stomped on, I feel relief.

This is so strange.

As a result of the revision process she triggered, I have a better manuscript. She wanted a more commercial book; I added more commercial focus by bringing the plot front and center, cutting literary flourishes, adding a “ticking clock” feature for urgency, etc. I didn’t add enough for her (or maybe subtract enough for her), but I like this version of the story. I like it a lot.

This saga could read like this:
Agent discovers stand-out writer (“gifted” “literary star” “master of detail and description”), but writer is unable to produce marketable book.
Or like this:
Agent flatters writer (“gifted” “literary star” “master of detail and description”), causing writer to strive for too long to turn a manuscript into something it was never going to be.

In all honesty, I think it’s the latter.

Either way, I sally forth to discover a new agent, carrying with me the benefit of the paces she put me through, but hoping to find an agent who reads the book as it is written and sees the beauty of the story as it is written and takes on representation of the project as it is written.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

agent, rewrite, train trip

Comments (8)

  • I think you are much too kind in your description of this agent. Perhaps you can guess what I think when I say that my reaction should not appear in this space

  • Ellen Morris Prewitt

    This feeling of relief is a surprise. I feel like I can return to “being myself.” Life is so strange

  • Ellen Morris Prewitt

    Thank you, Susanne. At times I feel my optimism is irrational, but there it is. I so appreciate the support.

  • Though I am aghast that the agent passed ESPECIALLY after discovering the lengths you were willing to go to “get it right,” I am relieved you are relieved. Maybe by having the cracked door from this agent, it stopped being your book written for your readers, but the target audience became too narrow, this one short-sighted agent. Bring your goodness on back to the rest of us, we people who are readers of books and lovers of story, who like the way one author bumps the road vs. another, who are not taking your art in pieces to be weighed for market, and we will welcome you. (That was also an overwritten request to read the new version, lol.)

  • Ellen Morris Prewitt

    Yes, I think that’s a good point about the target audience becoming too narrow. I don’t see anything overwritten about that comment, and I’ll gladly send along the latest draft.

  • Ellen Morris Prewitt

    it’s really odd, Luanne, my desires have changed over the time it has taken me to get a novel accepted for publication. Then, it was success, validation, breaking into “the group” of traditionally publish authors. Now, it’s a matter of getting the novels out there. I don’t know where this will take me, but I appreciate your following along the journey.

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