The Saga of Greene Newbie -- pt. 6

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Revisions... I do not think it means what you think it means...

A few weeks later, and a straggling couple of rejections have passed, along with one more request for a full read; he got to make use of his 9 1/2 query letter turned summary twice. Greene's heard nothing back on the original full request and one of the partials has already turned into a "no". By this point, he's chomping at the bit (<---- horse reference for you city types who've never seen horse outside a fountain centerpiece ;-P ) and wanting some kind of sign that the agents at least received his emails. He checked his "sent" box to make sure he'd really sent them to the correct addresses and double, triple, quadruple checked to make sure none of them had bounced back.

It was only a quick intervention on Friendly Writerman's part that stopped him from making that gravest of agent-etiquette faux pas (<--- that's some quality high school French right there): THE PHONE CALL. Greene didn't see any harm in this supposedly benign activity. After all, if the agent is reading his pages, surely he rates high enough to be able to call if he needs to -- but, sadly, no he doesn't. And he never needs to.

Friendly presents him with the hard truth of "no less than three months and then email". Ten minutes later, Greene comes to from his faint on the floor. "Three months? Three whole months? As in 90 days or more?"

"Yep," Friendly says. "Unless it's a holiday season or convention time, then you can bet on four."

Another ten minutes later...

Greene gets a notice in his inbox of a new email message. The clouds part, angels sing, he gets a weird flashback from his college haze...er days... as the room turns purple... it's from one of the agents with a partial.

Reading through her comments (and after Friendly has explained to him that comments =/= complaints, they're good things), he finds a mixed response. She liked most of what she read, but isn't sure about one of the characters. Maybe two.

Your voice is clear and the plot is definitely engaging, but I feel that Sidekick McWhippingboy is a little cliched, and some of his personality traits are redundant next to Beautiful Damselgirl. Also, Hero Goodguy needs a bit more edge to him. He's too good to be real. I'd be happy to read a revision if you can tweak those points.

And so, Greene goes off on a tangent about artistic vision and not selling out and cramped style. He's on his third wind of the filibusterer when Friendly smacks him on the head with a print out of his manuscript. (As it was a 115,000 word piece, that's a lot of smacking power.)

"You don't have to do the revisions if you don't want to," he says. "But you do if you want her to read it again."

But ... that's just not FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIR!!! It's Greene's story. Why should anyone else get a say in how it goes?

Because he doesn't have the same perspective as the agent, that's why.

He doesn't know that:

* three books have just sold with characters like Sidekick McWhippingboy, so another could get lost in the dog pile.
* "clean cut" heroes don't sell as well at the moment as Byronic ones.
or
* Beautiful Damselgirl is nothing special to anyone other than Greene. She's so nothing special that she's having her name legally changed to Mary Sue when he's not looking.

Friendly suggests that while he's waiting to hear back from the other agents, he try to implement some of the agent's suggestions - without getting rid of his original. It's entirely possible that someone else will love the story as is or that Greene will like it better with the tweaks.

It's all a matter of balance. And in the end, it's all a matter of what will and won't sell.

(to be continued...)

2 Chiming In:

Kayeleen said...

Have I mentioned I'm really enjoying this series? It's highly amusing. And actually very informative.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Woo Hoo! That's the combination I strive for. It is through the truly inept that the rest of us learn to be adequate ;-)

Poor Newbie must suffer that the rest of us may excel.

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