PDA

View Full Version : Agent feedback problem



funtastic50
06-16-2009, 02:42 AM
I'm not sure if this is the right section to post this in, I need a bit of advice please - I love this forum - I have a book, I have an agent,(so happy) I've done one rewrite with the agent but she doesn't feel like I've tackled all the problems. She feels that the narrative requires more development and I think I'm having a brain block because I can't understand what she means. Does more narrative development actually mean going back to the very beginning, to the plot, and relooking at the story arc? Does it essentially mean stripping it back and going again?

I've asked her for some time to think about her feedback, I don't want to give a knee jerk response, but I do want to respond with an outline as to what I intend to do.... if I could just understand her question?????

Sorry if I sound like a complete dumb ass...

Catadmin
06-16-2009, 02:51 AM
If you've signed a contract with this agent, feel free to contact her. Email her, ask her if there's a good time in her schedule where she can spend some time with you, and then call her at that time. Phone time can be more productive than email responses.

Narrative development means different things to different people. Just tell her you want to make sure what you're thinking is along the same lines as what she's thinking, so can she please give you a few examples of what she's thinking? If you're polite and professional, I'm sure your agent will have no problem explaining her thought processes in this regard.

Unfortunately, without reading your manuscript, I can't hazard a guess as to what she means by "requires more development" unless she feels there are leaps of faith you are expecting your reader to make. Hence you need more foreshadowing or threads in the start to exploit in the end.

As Chekov said, "The gun in the first act must be fired by the third act". The question is, do you fire a gun that you don't have in the first act? Or do you have extraneous stuff in the first act not used? Etc.

scope
06-16-2009, 03:22 AM
I'm not sure if this is the right section to post this in, I need a bit of advice please - I love this forum - I have a book, I have an agent,(so happy) I've done one rewrite with the agent but she doesn't feel like I've tackled all the problems. She feels that the narrative requires more development and I think I'm having a brain block because I can't understand what she means. Does more narrative development actually mean going back to the very beginning, to the plot, and relooking at the story arc? Does it essentially mean stripping it back and going again?

I've asked her for some time to think about her feedback, I don't want to give a knee jerk response, but I do want to respond with an outline as to what I intend to do.... if I could just understand her question?????

Sorry if I sound like a complete dumb ass...

Assuming this agent reps you, all of this is exactly what you should be discussing with him or her. Only your agent has the answers -- for her.

funtastic50
06-16-2009, 03:22 AM
Narrative development means different things to different people.

Thanks Catadim - thats good advice, I need to make sure the agent and I are in agreement as to what narrative development means to both of us. I haven't signed a contract with her, but she is being good with her time. I'll start working on an email response to her, and line up a call.

thanks again

Catadmin
06-16-2009, 03:28 AM
Glad I could help. However, being as you don't have a contract with her, make sure to be extra polite and professional when you correspond with her. And don't be surprised if she's got other clients on her plate.

Cricket18
06-16-2009, 06:47 AM
You can always make light of the situation as well. Something similar happened to me and I was truly clueless what the heck she was talking about. So I sent an email saying something to the effect of, 'I feel like a dolt because I'm not exactly sure what you meant by X. I just want to make sure we're on the same page so I can make my revisions effectively.' She emailed me back w/ a smiley, apologizing for being so vague...like it was HER fault...hee hee...but seriously, just keep it professional and light...remember, agents are PEOPLE...they will never be upset as long as you're polite and to me, your question is a valid one.

Danthia
06-16-2009, 03:39 PM
I'll echo everyone. Ask you agent to clarify. Get examples of what she felt was lacking, find out if she has any suggestions on how to fix it. Just talk to her, same as you would with a crit group member or writer friend. She's there to help you and your book.

Personal experience story if this helps...

My agent wanted me to rewrite my ending because the stakes failed to escalate enough into the climax. She said to go deeper thematically. I thought I knew what she meant, but when I turned it in I was wrong. We talked it over, and she elaborated on what she meant and that time I got it. I went back and rewrote an ending she loved.

I'm a little unsure where you are with this agent, so I don't know if you should call or e-mail. You said you have an agent (which to me says she offered to rep you and you're working together) but then you said you had no contract. Not every agency uses a contact, so this could be you're still trying to get representation or you have it on a more informal level. If she does indeed represent you, feel free to call. If you're still in the dating phase, e-mail is probably better. Though you could ask if she had time free to discuss this with you. She can always say no.

myrmidon
06-17-2009, 11:01 PM
I'm working exclusively with an agent on my revisions, but we are not doing a contract until later (standard policy for his agency). We've just started (barely) with the revisions, but I would not hesitate to call him - regardless of our non-contract - and he has in fact encouraged both phone and email conversation for any questions I have.

I think it obviously depends on the exact situation you're in, but from what you've said it sounds like a phone conversation is totally appropriate. As others said, just try to be as polite and professional, and understanding of his/her time constraints.