re: Trash It or Tweak It?

in Narrative Voice/Submissions/Teen/Middle Grade Fiction by

Dear Editor…

I have been sending out my middle grade fantasy. I was writing to my 8-year-old but the 2 rejections I received speak about voice. I myself am moved by the voice in children’s books and can certainly attain A GOOD voice in a new book, but should I throw this one away? Believe the two rejections?

Sincerely,

Gemini

Dear Gemini…

Two is too few, too soon for the circular file. Use the feedback about voice to re-examine your ms instead. Young fantasies often have a more formal narrative style and can feel stilted. Make sure you’ve chosen dynamic, evocative words and phrases even if you’re stringing them together in a more proper style. Does your character “close the door” when he could “use his hand to smother the click of latch against plate” instead? Is he “easily frightened” or does he “fear the worst because small children easily assume the boogie man or fanged creatures”? Enrich a formal fantasy voice by going one step beyond the first phrase that pops into your head.

Happy writing!

The Editor

10 Comments

  1. If you received comments along with the rejections, you are ahead of the game. Most MS passes don’t even bother (why should they when they won’t be repping?)

  2. Two rejections is nothing. You’ve received some good feedback here. Don’t give up on it yet! Keep in mind, Dr. Seuss had something like 30 rejections on Cat in the Hat before it was accepted.

    • Kathryn Stockett persevered despite 60 rejections. Now her bestselling book “The Help” is a movie. Such stories frustrate some writers, but I find them inspiring.

  3. I’m with Chris and Traci: The rejection part is icky, but getting a peek into the reason behind the “no” is a good thing. You can decide if you agree with the reasoning or not.

  4. Definitely don’t give up. And it sounds like you got some great direction. Deborah – is it acceptable to revise a work based on feedback and resubmit to the same person – once you’ve made that contact? Or if it was something they were interested in, i.e. a fit for their publishing needs, they would have jumped on it and guided you in reworking it?

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