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Thread: Where's the happy medium?

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin korrinblue's Avatar
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    Where's the happy medium?

    At what point do I cease seeking the views of others and stick to what I believe is the best presentation of the story I want to tell?

    The piece is urban fantasy, 98,000 words, 414 pages, broken into sixty-four chapters.

    I've had two solid beta readers: one loved it and had simply offered technical suggestions to keep the pace; the other keeps asking questions that will be answered in the following pages and is constantly referring to pov issues and how I'm breaking convention between third and omni. The typical friends' and family response is: couldn't put it down - read the last three-hundred pages in one sitting.

    15 queries. 8 rejections.
    2 requested fulls, one polite rejection within 4 days, one hanging for a month now.

  2. #2
    Huh. kkbe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korrinblue View Post
    At what point do I cease seeking the views of others and stick to what I believe is the best presentation of the story I want to tell?

    The piece is urban fantasy, 98,000 words, 414 pages, broken into sixty-four chapters.

    I've had two solid beta readers: one loved it and had simply offered technical suggestions to keep the pace; the other keeps asking questions that will be answered in the following pages and is constantly referring to pov issues and how I'm breaking convention between third and omni. The typical friends' and family response is: couldn't put it down - read the last three-hundred pages in one sitting.

    15 queries. 8 rejections.
    2 requested fulls, one polite rejection within 4 days, one hanging for a month now.
    I think two fulls from 15 queries is decent. More than. Are you going to send out another batch?

    You had two beta-readers with disparate reactions. Don't know what the average is for betas reading one's work. I would guess four or five, then you can get a sense of trend, or lack thereof, but that's just me. How do you feel about it, I guess that's the question. What does your gut tell you about your novel?

    I'd send out another batch of QLs, hang tight to see if anything transpires from the two fulls you sent, start working on your next novel in the interim so you don't go stark raving crazy, but that's just me.
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    Totally Ninja! quickWit's Avatar
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    Are you talking about one MS here, kb? If so, and you've already sent out queries and submitted fulls, I'd say your decision is already made for now. Set it aside, let it breathe and move on to your next story while this one's out trying to win you an agent.
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  4. #4
    Your Genial Uncle Absolute Sage James D. Macdonald's Avatar
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    Where's the happy medium?

    In the Landsdawn Rest Home for Retired Spiritualists.

    About this story? You've made it the best you can, right? You don't need to follow every suggestion. You took the ones that made sense to you; leave the rest. And write your next novel.

  5. #5
    resident curmudgeon
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    You should never change anything unless you believe the change is for the better, but when someone says you're breaking convention between third limited and omni, you might want to check. It isn't about convention, it's about writing in one or the other. Not doing so can certainly be cause for rejection.

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    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korrinblue View Post
    15 queries. 8 rejections.
    2 requested fulls, one polite rejection within 4 days, one hanging for a month now.
    Maybe your story is fine and it's your query letter that's lacking? I really don't know, being unfamiliar with either, but maybe your QL isn't selling your story as well as it could?

    It couldn't hurt to read through Query Letter Hell if you haven't been lurking here that long.

    After all, there is only one single explicit rejection of your actual manuscript and it could have been for any number of reasons, not just your story.

  7. #7
    Live a little. Write a lot. Karen Junker's Avatar
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    I think your rate of response is good, so stop worrying.

    If it makes you feel any better, I have a UF story that I've had around 30 people beta/crit for me and it's about half and half--half ask questions and hate the POV and half love it and want to read more of the story. I had come to the conclusion that I need to screen my critters/betas a bit better to get folks who are familiar with UF and don't need to be spoonfed details immediately.

    Good luck with your project!
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  8. #8
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wilde_at_heart View Post
    Maybe your story is fine and it's your query letter that's lacking? I really don't know, being unfamiliar with either, but maybe your QL isn't selling your story as well as it could?
    It's possible. But the OP's response rate isn't bad. 2/15, and still a few that haven't responded.

  9. #9
    practical experience, FTW
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    I suspect revising a ms that's out there is a bad idea. Write something new.

  10. #10
    writer, rider, reader...ex-pat! BethS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korrinblue View Post

    I've had two solid beta readers: one loved it and had simply offered technical suggestions to keep the pace; the other keeps asking questions that will be answered in the following pages and is constantly referring to pov issues and how I'm breaking convention between third and omni.
    Maybe get one more opinion (from someone whose opinion you value) and see whether it agrees more with Beta 1 or Beta 2. And meanwhile, stop querying.

    Oh, and also get your query letter critiqued, if you haven't already.

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    When you have 50 posts here you can post in Share Your Work.
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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buffysquirrel View Post
    I suspect revising a ms that's out there is a bad idea. Write something new.
    Perfectly said! This seems like a really good time to have confidence in your project, be patient, see how things play out, eventually maybe focus on queries. And the best way to be patient is to start the next project.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by korrinblue View Post
    15 queries. 8 rejections.
    2 requested fulls, one polite rejection within 4 days, one hanging for a month now.

    I'd be on top of the world if I had even 1 request for a full. That means your query letter got the agents' attention. That's a small, very small sign that you might know where you're going. If I had 20 rejections on the same MS, I'd worry.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Where's the happy medium?

    In the Landsdawn Rest Home for Retired Spiritualists.[/B]


    You made my entire night, sir. Thank you so much. I'm going to go to sleep happy tonight.

  15. #15
    Knight Templar richcapo's Avatar
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    Don't know. All my betas bail on me.
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  16. #16
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    at least you have tried. i have not go down that road yet. soon I will follow your way.

  17. #17
    Dr. Sniffles will see you now. A Li Shan's Avatar
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    I remember Stephen King mentioning, in On Writing, that he gives his MS out to five or six beta readers. This way, he can (as another poster said) 'spot the trends' in the feedback. Two beta readers with contradictory advice is kind of the opposite of useful.
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    Around and About SuperModerator Birol's Avatar
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    Korrin, even when seeking the advice of others, you should always stick to what you believe is the best presentation for the story you want to tell.

  19. #19
    permanently suctioned to Buz's leg Putputt's Avatar
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    Like others have said, your response rate so far is decent...but I'd send it out to more betas (not family unless you know that person is willing to be ruthless with your work when they need to be) just so you can get a feel for how the majority of readers feel about the book.

    Other than that, the best advice I received after going on sub is to move on to your next book. It'll help get your mind off your current MS...something I found really useful. Helped keep my sanity.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Li Shan View Post
    I remember Stephen King mentioning, in On Writing, that he gives his MS out to five or six beta readers. This way, he can (as another poster said) 'spot the trends' in the feedback. Two beta readers with contradictory advice is kind of the opposite of useful.
    This. You need to see where others come down on the issue, and preferably not friends/family.
    Having said that, it sounds as though you've had enough and like it as is - and two full requests isn't discouraging. Maybe just keep querying away!.

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin korrinblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by James D. Macdonald View Post
    Where's the happy medium?

    In the Landsdawn Rest Home for Retired Spiritualists.

    About this story? You've made it the best you can, right? You don't need to follow every suggestion. You took the ones that made sense to you; leave the rest. And write your next novel.
    Okay, gotta be quicker to laugh at myself. First off, thanks everybody for your replies. I realized I was whining after reading Mr. Macdonald's views on the matter. Secondly, I really don't know how this industry works. The two requested fulls came from face-to-face pitches at the Willamette Writer's conference. After the rejection of the first full came back with the note she thought it was a promising project, but it needed some more work editorially, well, I began to wonder if I was a better bullshit artist than writer. Needless to say, I cooked up a somewhat risky (possibly, I have no idea) query letter and started seeking validation elsewhere. Wouldn't recommend that, by the way. So I will follow the advice here and take my query letter over to Query Letter Hell and discover if I have what it takes to keep at this for the long haul. Thanks again.

    In the meanwhile, I'm assuming I should wait on any further serious queries until hearing back from the second requested full?

  22. #22
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin korrinblue's Avatar
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    Uhm, does the 50 post rule apply to this query letter hell?

  23. #23
    Live a little. Write a lot. Karen Junker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by korrinblue View Post
    Uhm, does the 50 post rule apply to this query letter hell?
    Yes. But you can still critique the queries of other people and other submissions in the Share Your Work section. Once you have 50 posts, you'll be able to post yours. Good luck!
    Karen Junker
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    "Spend a passionate weekend with your muse!"

  24. #24
    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LJD View Post
    It's possible. But the OP's response rate isn't bad. 2/15, and still a few that haven't responded.
    Thanks. I have no idea what a good or bad response rate is even if both the QL and novel are truly stellar.

  25. #25
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin korrinblue's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birol View Post
    Korrin, even when seeking the advice of others, you should always stick to what you believe is the best presentation for the story you want to tell.
    Thanks. Nobody makes me crazier than I do.

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