Problem is, these rejections are on partials. Requested partials. More than a few of them.
Rejected requested partials are a problem because 1) the agent was interested to begin with and 2) something about my writing disinterested them. They didn't want to see the rest. I did better than this with Forging a Legend. Something is obviously wrong with those opening pages.
I expected to do better than this. My readers--all writer-types who I know online, and who are unlikely to blow sunshine up my ass--used words like "I loved it" and "I couldn't put it down." I never got feedback like that before. Maybe I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up, but I am human, after all.
Yesterday, I finally got some feedback from an agent. Something I could work with. She said that she loved the premise, but I was showing more than telling and I had too much authorial intrusion. What brutal words for my fragile writer psyche!
I promptly wrote a thank you email to the agent for taking the time to provide such priceless feedback.
Then, I went in draconian mode and cut 12,000 words off the opening.
By this morning, I had come to my senses. I needed those opening chapters. They lay all sorts of foundations and set up a bunch of conflict. So I went back to the previous version of the manuscript. And I read the opening pages. And lo and behold . . .
Yikes! I was telling! For three pages--three out of five of the critical opening pages--I was delving deep in to my character's psyche with--yes!--authorial intrusion! My goal was to make my reader like the character. But if my character's actions can't make the reader like the character, than nothing can.
I skimmed until I got to the action. Then, I discovered a gem of a sentence. I decided to open my story with it. Here is my old opening sentence:
Mr. Julian Crain was late.This evokes mild curiosity. Late for what? But nothing more. We aren't dying to know what this guy is late for.
Here is my new one.
I hurried up to the embassay as if I belonged there.I like this better. I think it evokes curiosity. Why is she hurrying? Why is she going to the embassy if she doesn't belong there? And why is she trying to look like she does belong there?
Still waiting to hear back on some other partials, requested and otherwise.