Saturday, October 1, 2011

Grouchy Tea and Disgruntled Crumpets

I certainly swallowed a nice dose of uncertainty. Since the last rejection email I got, I'm not sure what steps I should take next. Edit the manuscript again? Work on my query letter? Look up a crit group? I'm not used to feeling insecure about my writing. And yet, here I am, thinking something is wrong, and getting angry about it.

I get mad at the publishing industry, mad at other writers. I get tired of their blogs, tired of their announcements, tired of their world. Angry and alone, my inner child shakes her fists and screams "Not fair!" She wants to scribble all over their walls, show them she is better than all of that. She can draw, and write, and build worlds inside of worlds. She can transform genres, cross boundaries, if they'd only let her. She hates having to wear one label or another. Why can't she do it all?

I get sick of the term 'YA'. I take breaks from it to read other novels. I take breaks from it to breathe. I go away for a day (like I did this weekend) and just reconnect with what makes me who I am. And who I am is what I put into my writing.

A very nice lady in a chatroom told me that perhaps my work isn't the problem. Perhaps it's just the agent's preference. The next agent could be the one to truly appreciate my manuscript. My trouble is... I feel like I might be in the wrong country. The words I use, the style I admire, the footsteps I'm following - Lewis Carroll, J.K. Rowling, Terry Pratchett, Frances Hodgson Burnett, Mary Shelley - aren't American. They're British.

Even the novel I'm reading by John Connolly The Book of Lost Things is British (although Connolly himself is Irish). So, where in the world of American YA literature do I fit? And most of all, where is the agent who would like to represent a charming, shadowy, Victorian story with a touch of British influence?


  1. Keep your chin up. You're miles ahead of me, as I haven't yet worked up the nerve to submit anything. Keep this in mind:

  2. Hello, Donelle! I'm currently trying to find an agent for my YA novel set in an English public school (see my blog for the query letter). The novel is written in US English, but the characters all speak in UK English style. I'm an ex-pat Brit, so I've had to try to remember how my former fellow countrymen talk. But maybe this is why I'm not getting any takers yet? Too confusing? I really love my novel, but while I'm waiting on agent responses, I'm working on the next. My WIP is very different, and possibly more accessible. Who knows, I may get no takers for my current novel, but get an agent with the next. And then maybe this novel will get the attention I think it deserves.

    Don't lose hope. Pour your energy into writing and creating stories you love. It just takes one agent to share your passion for one of your novels.

  3. Thanks Mara and Colin!

    Mara, I really liked the comic, and you should go ahead and submit. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. Just be sure it's as good as you can make it, and then send it out.

    Colin, I think the right agent for you is out there. And your novel sounds interesting. I love dialects and slang in dialogue. Working on your next book while you query your first is what I'm doing too.


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