Oh well, I got my first rejection today since deciding to try and write professionally again. (Witch’s Boy went through 15 of them). This was for the reworked ‘90% Proof’. In the interests of anyone thinking of submitting their own stuff for publication, I thought I’d post it here so you can see what sort of things to avoid 🙂
Author seems to have a good grasp of the historical research needed for this story. However, the premise to the story is not very compelling (boy loves boy who loves another boy who loves a girl). The writing needs help. There are lots of run-on sentences (paragraphs of them in fact). It would be a lot of work to fix. There are lots of flowery descriptions of the ship, the port, etc. but no character descriptions of the main characters, although there is a delightful one of a woman one of the characters meet for lunch. The author also doesn't consistently refer to the characters by their first or last names...so had an awful time figuring out who was who throughout the entire reading."
I actually agree with a lot of this – I’m a martyr to the run on sentence 🙂 And picking one name and consistently referring to each character using it is certainly a way to minimize confusion. I wasn’t so sure about the ‘character descriptions’ of the main characters, as I always thought it was considered bad style to info-dump everything about a character the moment they’re introduced. (Also I thought my description of Miss Kent was a little over the top!) But it’s all fairly easily put right, and it’s great to have such a helpful rejection. In fact they say I am welcome to submit it again if I rework it according to the above guidelines, which is good 🙂
I thought I was not particularly bothered, but I seem to have wasted the entire day since, eating cake and moping, not writing at all. Clearly my methods of coping with rejection have not improved since The Witch’s Boy ten years ago. And this was a nice one!
Never mind. Back into the saddle tomorrow! And at least I’ve developed a sudden fascination for Maecenas, (Octavian’s negotiator and poet/patron of the arts) that promises to lead me into some interesting research.