Tuesday, July 31, 2007

93,020 Words

Three rejections so far, out of seven submissions. One didn't have time to look at it at all and merely sent his apologies, another responded with a form letter, but the third has given me some advice, for which I am extremely grateful:

I realise you're trying to do something different with the genre, and I admire your ambition. But crime readers like their rules to be observed before they are broken - or publishers do - and in my opinion your narratiuve shifts dilute the tension rather than adding to it.

Of course publishing is a subjective business, and others may take a totally different view, so don't be discouraged.

This is very helpful to me because it tells me what impression I am giving people of the book, through the opening chapters and the synopsis that I have written for it. Two things leap out at me, that need to be rectified a.s.a.p.
1) The murder part of the story takes too long to really get going.
2) My synopsis gives the impression that the ending of the book is left wide open, with the case unsolved. It isn't. The true murderer is not convicted but he does get his comeupance and is therefore prevented from hurting anyone else. The person who does take the blame for Amelia's murder is by no means a sympathetic character and does share some of the blame, albeit indirectly. I need to make this clearer in the synopsis.

P.S. My mum's advice was also sound. She says I am too concerned with the back stories of minor characters (so I have cut some parts already) and that I have used the word 'bubbling' one two occasions, when describing people drinking, which is one too many. She has also advised me to cut/re-write the sections relating to a minor character who is writing her own book about what happened to Amelia, in contrast to Caroline's memoir, which is a major part of the story. She says this is an unnecessary distraction. However, excising this 2nd book would involve re-writing so much of my story that I am tempted to leave it in for the moment. I have made changes to the way it is presented, and spelled out (what I see as) its importance in clearer terms when it is first introduced into the narrative. I hope this will suffice.


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