Friday, March 07, 2008

Thinking about Rewriting

I’ve been working on rewrites of a book that did well in contests and that has received favorable attention from agents but, alas, no offer of a contract.

This gave me a lot of consternation. If everyone liked it, why no offer of representation? What is the underlying fault?

One agent mentioned an eek factor that’s really part of the heroine’s backstory and is a set up for her principle conflict with the hero.

One agent mentioned a lack of world building…and boy did that one confuse me since my story is set in the far future, not Earth, and there are alien life forms. Sigh.

One agent cited the lack of sexual tension between the heroine and the hero.

So which one do I believe? Any one of them? All of them?

The eek factor…okay, I’ve heard rumors about stuff like that. Since it’s right on the first few pages, in the form of a ‘story’, I can relocate it and still keep it as motivation for h/h conflict.

The world building? Mmm, maybe for a true SF story it could be lacking but this is SFR, a softer, gentler type of SF. And I just don’t believe the world building is at fault.

Sexual tension? Okay, yes, I thought it was fine but it could be strengthened, heightened. Brought forward.

So I’m going to combine the rewrites for the eek factor and the sexual tension. That’s two out of three and completely doable.

But telling you this isn’t the purpose of this column. Not exactly anyway. What I’m really saying is that as a writer, you have to pick and choose which opinions you’re going to give weight to when you’re trying to sell your book. It’s a whole lot easier if all the opinions/comments are the same, of course, but the odds of that happening…well, can we say astronomical? :D

And before you think I’m upset about my book being turned down, let me clarify. I’m not (well, okay, when I first got these I was bewildered and devastated), well, I’m not NOW.

I had to wait for the pain to pass, then I put on my ‘professional writer’ hat and coldly look at my mss. It took time, more than I care to admit. But I’m not one to throw her hands up in the air and wail for very long either. When I finally reached the decision to rewrite it, I knew I’d done the right thing for this book…and ultimately for my career.

Have any of you ever been in this position? How did you handle it?

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