"I've attached a short reader's report written by one of my interns."
I can take rejection, I really can. I can take criticism; in fact I want criticism. That is how your writing improves. My novel Into the Sunset has not only been read by people whose opinion I trust, but it has also been read by my former writing teacher, who gave me extensive notes on an early draft of the novel. I took this info and polished the book into a solid piece. I’ve worked damn hard to whip this thing into shape. Is it For Whom the Bell Tolls? Of course not. It is a comic novel with lots of sex (sex sells, don’t forget), toilet humor, and a unique, fun plot. It is a fast read. I always keep in mind one of Elmore Leonard’s ten rules—cut out the parts that readers tend to skip. I think it’s a page turner.
So it was disappointing when the latest agent—who requested a full manuscript—passed it off to an intern to read and comment on. Did the agent herself read it? I don’t know, but I did get the review of an intern probably fresh out of school who has probably never written or had a story published in his/her life. Some of the highlights: “...the author decided to add a few disturbing sexual encounters that I couldn’t quite accept.” Well, if you consider a thirty year-old man having sex with a sixty year-old woman disturbing, then yeah it was disturbing. Otherwise everything else was just normal sex, nothing freaky going on.
Here is another one: “The relationships he created in the story fall apart just as quickly as they were begun, and no one really learned anything.” This one made me laugh out loud. It is a comment straight out of a creative writing classroom. You know, the characters must learn something and be redeemed at the end. Tell it to Hannibal Lecter. Anyway, my characters do learn something about themselves at the end. So there.
Next stop on the Into the Sunset express? The Small Presses. See you in the bookstores.