Where Ladybugs Roar

Confessions and Passions of a Compulsive Writer

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Can I get a weigh-in on a translation?

Okay... so I just visited with my sister, Heidi, and I was telling her about the changes made to "Honor Among Thieves." Removing adverbs, adding a prologue, and removing all the passive voice really gave me a lot of help in fixing many of the problems addressed by DAW in the letter they sent me. I just did a before and after comparison of the document and "boo-yah" to how much went under the knife for improvement. I never would have guessed I could be that brutally efficient. Seriously, bravo Sue Grafton for thrashing those people's works... it was really helpful. Anyway, Heidi asked if I was going to resubmit and it threw me because I hadn't even considered it. She told me to go back and read the "rejection" again. So, I did.

Dear Ms. Sparrow,

I passed your ms along to our second reader, and she wrote the following:
This is interesting, but not really there yet. The author's sense of pacing needs work. Some stuff probably needs to be brought out sooner to make better sense to the reader. Better character development would help too. I think she has talent, but isn't publishable yet.

I'll add, please consider us in the future, and best possible luck with your writing.

So, I've tackled all of that stuff... even though it was really a side effect of a thorough rewrite. I'd assumed they were telling me "thanks, but no thanks" in a nice way. When I read "please consider us in the future," I was reading "hey... you're not half-bad and maybe if you have different manuscripts in the future you'd like to send our way... we won't hate you." Heidi says they were saying "this is what needs to be fixed... fix it and resubmit." The husband said that they were most likely assuming that I was, like many other writers, focused entirely on just this single manuscript. He thinks they meant that they didn't want to focus on editing this manuscript, but it has potential, and they would reconsider after I'd attended to these flaws.

What is your translation on this?

(I feel all anal and nitpicky for even bringing this up. It reminds me of the after-date breakdowns among females when I was still single. "So... he said goodbye in like this really final way, but maybe he meant for me to call him every twenty minutes... what do you think?" )

After I've smoothed through any rough edges on this last re-write... should I resubmit or move on to other places?


  1. I think it wouldn't hurt to resend it. Maybe send it to few others as well and see what kind of response it gets.

  2. DAW is a no simultaneous submissions place, though. They responded within a month and a half to my first submission. Maybe I should focus on agents....

  3. What's DAW?? And I think you should resend it if you want to. But I do think you should focus on sending it to agents. In the end they are what matter! Plus, one agency may not like it the way it is, while another may love it! But don't forget to work on other manuscripts while you query this one! =]

  4. DAW is a big name fantasy/sci-fi publisher (in the Penguin group) that accepts unagented manuscripts.

  5. I think it means two separate things: First, that the second reader thinks you could edit this story for all the reasons stated and have it reach a publishable state, and second, that the people at DAW would like to see a different manuscript if you ever write one in the future.

    My two cents, since you asked :) If it were me, I would follow both of these meanings. I would write another story. I would also go back and revise the one that DAW did not accept and continue querying with agents (I'm not sure if you've done this already). At some point you'll finish the new story and be ready to submit to DAW, who will get to see a different story from you that is closer to being publishable, or IS publishable, and it is conceivable that if they took on your new book they would also take on a revised version of something they thought had potential but rejected initially. Better that, even though it seems like a longer way, than to appear hyper-focused on your one masterpiece.