I submitted my manuscript to a publisher, who asked to meet with me after he read the first chapter. He said he had 46 notes to review with me, a number that disturbed me.
I was right to be disturbed by his assessment, as he was far less than thrilled with the sample pages I provided. But this particular publisher was more than helpful, regardless… He offered to set me up with an already-published author for some guidance and we talked for over an hour about writing and parenting. Even though the meeting was a rejection, it was educational and extremely beneficial and he seconded what Cathy Ostlere (award-winning author of Karma) told me: the first chapter needs to begin with action.
He gave me some books to read and I left the meeting pondering the female character of my book. Do I actually like her? Do I want to change her altogether?
I sat down with Ireene and hashed out some ideas. Ireene has a unique perspective on things, being very similar to me in attitude and preferences and yet somehow a stronger-willed individual than myself. We came up with a few ideas and I set to work.
34 pages into the re-write, I questioned my own motives. Was I rewriting the character because she did not fit the story, or because she did not fit one particular publisher’s ideals for the way I want to tell the story? Was I overreacting to the rejection and trying to adjust the story too severely?
I may still continue with the complete adaptation of the main female character, or I may not. But I did write a new version of the first chapter, opening with action and concise thought rather than vague reasoning and discretion. I will continue with both ideas until something just clicks and I know it’s right.
After I forwarded the new chapter to Cathy Ostlere, I received a quick reply saying that she is making some contacts for me with the synopsis of my book. CUE EXCITED SQUEALING HERE. I hope something comes of that, but if not, at least my confidence got a much-needed boost. I’m going to simply press the pause on the rewrite of the first book until I’m more decided (and until after I get Ireene’s impression of the rewrite) and proceed with the rewrite of the second, which I am confident about.
Onward and upward as always, refusing to judge myself based on one publisher’s opinion!