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newgreekwriter
10-21-2009, 11:20 AM
Is this has already been posted, just tell me, but I was skimming through the massive pile of rejections and I found one from a couple of months ago:

"I liked the first three chapters and the amount of research you put into it.." (okay, there was not much research done. I did have to MapQuest the state I was writing about, but that's about it)

"However, it didn't captivate me in terms of the execution of writing."

This was probably the first agent who actually wrote that. They didn't explain any further, but I am wondering...


Has this happened to you? Did you think after, "Maybe my writing is horrible" or "What are they talking about?!"

Calla Lily
10-21-2009, 04:01 PM
newgreekwriter, there are strong indications this is 100% form. It's like a recipe: One line from template A, one from template B, conclusion from template C. I say this because I've gotten those sentences separately in different form Rs.

File it, and Revenge Query! (That's a Purgatory term meaning to send out a query to a different agent as soon as a form R hits your in-box. Good luck!)

StoryG27
10-21-2009, 04:04 PM
I assume every rejection I've received, even form letters, are because of my writing.

Wayne K
10-21-2009, 04:16 PM
Yes I have. The rejection letter said so. I could have stuck my head in the sand or gave up trying to be a writer. One year later I have an agent interested and a lunch date at the end of the month with a publisher. Another agent rejected me recently and called me a talented writer.

If I can do it, so can you. Don't wallow in rejection. That's just giving yourself a reason to fail again. There are resources right here on AW that will make you better. Get busy.

newgreekwriter
10-21-2009, 04:37 PM
Thanks. I was thinking it was just a standard rejection. Good job to you, Wayne! (In regards to the agent-publisher mention in your post).

Perks
10-21-2009, 05:13 PM
I assume every rejection I've received, even form letters, are because of my writing.Me too. Unless the queried agent just doesn't represent what I've sent (which doesn't happen with proper research) I always feel like I didn't write right.

Red-Green
10-21-2009, 05:58 PM
I always assume my writing could be better. It could. I'm working on it. If this letter gives you doubts, do the same.

newgreekwriter
10-21-2009, 10:39 PM
Oh, I do. Little things here and there to improve daily. ;-) Besides writing is subjective.

Jamesaritchie
10-22-2009, 08:19 PM
I'd far rather be rejected because of poor writing than because of poor storytelling and poor characterization. Poor writing can be fixed much, much easier than the latter two problems.

Even poor writing gets published frequently, if there's a good story and good characters. But even great writing means nothing without the story and characters.

piscesgirl80
10-24-2009, 03:32 AM
I think every rejection I receive is due to my writing...but not necessarily the quality of it. What people enjoy reading/publishing is very subjective as someone else said. While some people/publishers may love my style and tone of writing, it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea.

Which is not to say there's not always room for improvement, :) but every acceptance I receive is due to my writing, too.

stormie
10-24-2009, 03:41 AM
What one agent or editor dislikes, another one likes.

I had a short story submitted to a magazine once, where a few editors each read it. One editor hated it and picked it apart. The senior editor loved it and saw nothing wrong.

Always look at your work with a jaundiced eye. Step away from it and see it as a third party, one who might be critical. Still love it? Okay, submit it elsewhere. Needs work? Revise it.

Wayne K
10-24-2009, 03:44 AM
I just got a rejection from an agent for the same material that I scored the publisher with. I got a glowing review from a beta reader I respect very much too, but he said "the writing just doesn't grab me"

I chalk it up to "tastes change" and keep at it. I don't think every rejection letter is due to the writing.

MsJudy
10-24-2009, 04:50 AM
Well, I hope the rejection letter has SOMETHING to do with the writing. I'd hate to be rejected because they don't like my looks.

Bushdoctor
10-24-2009, 08:12 PM
Rejection sucks but its all part of the game. Suck it up

Shadow_Ferret
10-24-2009, 08:15 PM
I assume every rejection I've received, even form letters, are because of my writing.

Ditto. They either hate my writing or they hate me personally.

Arkie
10-26-2009, 05:14 AM
I received a rejection from a publisher last week that read in part: "...the writing was not as engaging as I'd hoped."

It may have been a "form" rejection, but one I haven't seen.

stormie
10-26-2009, 04:33 PM
Yep, Arkie, that's a form rejection.

Ken
10-26-2009, 04:43 PM
... chap in another thread made a good point, awhile back. Even though one may receive a form letter, as this one appears to be, agent/editors may have stacks of several different form letters that they send. So there can be something to be got, sometimes, even from form letters. Though of course one shouldn't make too much of them, whatever they may say.

newgreekwriter
10-27-2009, 05:32 PM
I mean, it's mostly forms when they say, "the writing wasn't engaging". Five bucks say they didn't even actually read it. (that happened once. An agent said many things about my manuscript...and none applied to what I wrote!)

arkady
10-27-2009, 06:49 PM
Even more enigmatic are the rejections that go on about how much they liked the submitted material, then reject it anyway. I've had agents praise my characters (by name) and storyline (yes, they'd actually read it), but still wind up with "I'm going to pass...etc." Just Because.

Jamesaritchie
10-27-2009, 07:42 PM
I mean, it's mostly forms when they say, "the writing wasn't engaging". Five bucks say they didn't even actually read it. (that happened once. An agent said many things about my manuscript...and none applied to what I wrote!)

They always read it. Just because an agent says things that don't apply doesn't mean she didn't read what you sent.

Cranky
10-27-2009, 07:52 PM
I always assume I'm rejected because of my writing, even when they explictly state the work was well written (and when I know they've read my work). "Well-written" is not the only hurdle one must jump to be accepted for publication. You've got to have the right piece at the right time for the right market. Also, a piece being "well-written" is not a guarantee you've actually written a good story.

newgreekwriter
10-28-2009, 04:04 PM
They always read it. Just because an agent says things that don't apply doesn't mean she didn't read what you sent.


Well if they had read it, then they wouldn't have called the character by the wrong name or even misspelled my name. (This is one case, not all! I know agents read manuscripts/etc. it's their job).

Jamesaritchie
10-28-2009, 05:21 PM
Well if they had read it, then they wouldn't have called the character by the wrong name or even misspelled my name. (This is one case, not all! I know agents read manuscripts/etc. it's their job).


This doesn't mean it wasn't read. It more likely means the person who read it wasn't the person who made out the rejection. This is very common. It can also mean the person who did read it didn't check the facts and just wrote the rejection from memory. This is also very common.

I've seen agents and editors read a piece, and then send the rejection to the wrong writer, and I've seen very good agents and editors read a piece an dthen get everything wrong when they write teh rejection.

The numbers get overwhelming on a regular basis, and if you don't screw up three or four rejections every week, you just aren't trying very hard.

motormind
10-28-2009, 08:58 PM
I always assume I'm rejected because of my writing, even when they explictly state the work was well written (and when I know they've read my work). "Well-written" is not the only hurdle one must jump to be accepted for publication. You've got to have the right piece at the right time for the right market. Also, a piece being "well-written" is not a guarantee you've actually written a good story.

Getting published doesn't have anything to do with the quality of your story or your writing. Timing is everything. It's basically one big lottery.

Cranky
10-28-2009, 09:48 PM
Getting published doesn't have anything to do with the quality of your story or your writing. Timing is everything. It's basically one big lottery.

Which is pretty much what I said, minus the lottery bit. I can't do very much to improve my odds at winning the lottery. It's quite literally a game of chance. Writing? Not so much.

Gatita
10-28-2009, 10:02 PM
Oh God yes!!!!!! I feel your pain!

I just went through this last month. An editor LOVED my proposal and said he was so eager to read my sample chapters.... and then he pretty much hated the writing.

After several very encouraging rejections, this one took the wind out of my sails for weeks. I mean if you don't like my writing, you don't like ME, right? I have no talent, right?

And even though I know taste is utterly subjective, I won't lie -- it stung. Like crazy. Makes you doubt yourself on every level.

My agent, however, took it in stride and just had me re-write for "a little more tension." Now an editor is interested. Been there before and got shot down, so I'm not holding my breath. But at least the old ego is up and running again -- simply because somebody out there likes it.

This will happen to you (and me and everyone who does this) -- and it'll happen a lot. It's easy to say don't let it get to you, but it's true -- don't let it get to you!!

Have a drink if you do such things, take a quick look at the work, fix anything you can and just keep on submitting.

motormind
10-28-2009, 10:50 PM
Oh God yes!!!!!! I feel your pain!

I just went through this last month. An editor LOVED my proposal and said he was so eager to read my sample chapters.... and then he pretty much hated the writing.

After several very encouraging rejections, this one took the wind out of my sails for weeks. I mean if you don't like my writing, you don't like ME, right? I have no talent, right?


I know I have a very limited talent, at best. Still, I will keep badgering agents, since badgering is the one thing I am very good at. Just ask anyone who knows me. Or better still: don't.

skippingstone
10-29-2009, 02:55 AM
I used to hope that there were degrees of rejection and that I'd gotten a lesser degree of it when agents complimented my writing but then said no anyway. Now I take the Gertrude Stein view that a no is a no is a no. I skip over the niceties of the rejection letter and scan for key words like "nevertheless" and "despite this..." Then I sigh deeply and move on.

motormind
10-29-2009, 09:50 AM
I used to hope that there were degrees of rejection and that I'd gotten a lesser degree of it when agents complimented my writing but then said no anyway. Now I take the Gertrude Stein view that a no is a no is a no. I skip over the niceties of the rejection letter and scan for key words like "nevertheless" and "despite this..." Then I sigh deeply and move on.

Right on. With me it's a toggle: either you like it or you don't. I'm only skimming rejections for similarities, like "your ending sucks" or "stop putting in lesbian sex scenes every four pages." Niceties don't get me published.

newgreekwriter
10-29-2009, 12:35 PM
Oh God yes!!!!!! I feel your pain!

I just went through this last month. An editor LOVED my proposal and said he was so eager to read my sample chapters.... and then he pretty much hated the writing.

After several very encouraging rejections, this one took the wind out of my sails for weeks. I mean if you don't like my writing, you don't like ME, right? I have no talent, right?

And even though I know taste is utterly subjective, I won't lie -- it stung. Like crazy. Makes you doubt yourself on every level.

My agent, however, took it in stride and just had me re-write for "a little more tension." Now an editor is interested. Been there before and got shot down, so I'm not holding my breath. But at least the old ego is up and running again -- simply because somebody out there likes it.

This will happen to you (and me and everyone who does this) -- and it'll happen a lot. It's easy to say don't let it get to you, but it's true -- don't let it get to you!!

Have a drink if you do such things, take a quick look at the work, fix anything you can and just keep on submitting.

I know it has been said, but writing is subjective. I don't know how many times I read novels and I think to myself, "Why are they writing like this?! AHHH!"

Okay, I'm pretty sure yours wouldn't make me do that, lol. But at least you made it to the editor's desk. I have been beaten even before the manuscript has landed in the hands of an agent!

Jamesaritchie
10-29-2009, 06:49 PM
I know it has been said, but writing is subjective. I don't know how many times I read novels and I think to myself, "Why are they writing like this?! AHHH!"

Okay, I'm pretty sure yours wouldn't make me do that, lol. But at least you made it to the editor's desk. I have been beaten even before the manuscript has landed in the hands of an agent!

Only good writing is subjective. Is King good and Koontz bad, etc. Is Block better than Parker? No, they're all good, just different.

Bad writing, however, isn't subjective. It stinks to everyone with a nose.

motormind
10-29-2009, 07:33 PM
Bad writing, however, isn't subjective. It stinks to everyone with a nose.

Ah, I thought I was the only one who likes to smell books.

newgreekwriter
10-31-2009, 02:12 PM
Bad writing, yeah, well of course there is obvious bad writing. (For example, poor grammar to the point where you want to pull your hair out).

Julie Worth
11-02-2009, 06:26 PM
I'd far rather be rejected because of poor writing than because of poor storytelling and poor characterization. Poor writing can be fixed much, much easier than the latter two problems.

Even poor writing gets published frequently, if there's a good story and good characters. But even great writing means nothing without the story and characters.


True. I'm sometimes amazed how I can get into a book in spite of my horror at the writing, and the reverse often happens too. I'm caught up in the images an author creates for the first few pages, but then I think, is this self-indulgent crap going anywhere?

Julie Worth
11-02-2009, 06:47 PM
They always read it. Just because an agent says things that don't apply doesn't mean she didn't read what you sent.


While they may read part of it, most rejections nowadays are copy/paste generic. You can see that when you get rejections saying the first pages didn't draw them in as they'd hoped, and you didn't send any pages, or when you get identical rejections for different books. New agents sometimes send real rejections, and I once received two single spaced pages from a new agent who then rejected the book. He didn't last long, of course. Successful agents don't have time for writers they aren't going to represent.

Even when an agent requests a full, that doesn't mean they read everything you sent them. Especially if it's been three months and you may have already found representation. It might be three months more before they get to it, and they'll have to read those opening pages again anyway. I had this happen the other day. Out of fifty pages the agent said she'd read ten and knew she wanted to read the whole thing.

Blarg
11-03-2009, 02:08 AM
I'd far rather be rejected because of poor writing than because of poor storytelling and poor characterization. Poor writing can be fixed much, much easier than the latter two problems.

Even poor writing gets published frequently, if there's a good story and good characters. But even great writing means nothing without the story and characters.

Very good point.

Blarg
11-03-2009, 02:09 AM
Well, I hope the rejection letter has SOMETHING to do with the writing. I'd hate to be rejected because they don't like my looks.

I would LOVE to be rejected only because of my looks.

the addster
11-03-2009, 02:42 AM
I would LOVE to be rejected only because of my looks.

I'm beginning to wonder about that. From all reports I'm a great writer, I just don't inspire passion. LOL

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 04:09 PM
While they may read part of it, most rejections nowadays are copy/paste generic. You can see that when you get rejections saying the first pages didn't draw them in as they'd hoped, and you didn't send any pages, or when you get identical rejections for different books. New agents sometimes send real rejections, and I once received two single spaced pages from a new agent who then rejected the book. He didn't last long, of course. Successful agents don't have time for writers they aren't going to represent.

Even when an agent requests a full, that doesn't mean they read everything you sent them. Especially if it's been three months and you may have already found representation. It might be three months more before they get to it, and they'll have to read those opening pages again anyway. I had this happen the other day. Out of fifty pages the agent said she'd read ten and knew she wanted to read the whole thing.


I do agree with the agents not reading everything. This one agent stated her guidelines, I followed them exactly and she sent a generic rejection...even though the novel is exactly within her interests...And her reason? "This is not what I am looking for." Really? you clearly stated "YA Paranormal/Urban Fantasy" and that is how I described mine. Haha.

Okay, this can argued in many directions, but still...It was clearly generic. =/

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 04:12 PM
I would LOVE to be rejected only because of my looks.


I third this. Haha. =)

KTC
11-03-2009, 04:33 PM
Getting published doesn't have anything to do with the quality of your story or your writing. Timing is everything. It's basically one big lottery.


This could be the case SOMETIMES. But sometimes people just submit shit that will never ever get published anywhere any time. So, this is not true in all cases...not by a longshot.

KTC
11-03-2009, 04:36 PM
Which is pretty much what I said, minus the lottery bit. I can't do very much to improve my odds at winning the lottery. It's quite literally a game of chance. Writing? Not so much.

Again...this is way off base. It is often the case that a great manuscripts gets rejected because it showed up at the wrong time. But more often, it's just really bad writing get rejected. So, if a person is submitting shit, it's not a game a chance.

scarletpeaches
11-03-2009, 04:36 PM
I hate the attitude that it's all down to luck. Absolutely despise it. I'm too much of a control freak to even consider this could be true. I deny it 100%.

The more I practise the luckier I get. I make my own luck. I will never, ever rely on chance to get me where I want to be.

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 04:51 PM
I hate saying that it is on luck, but many new, published authors will say, "It was luck!"

Bah, your future is in your own hands. ;-)

scarletpeaches
11-03-2009, 04:56 PM
If it was all luck, you could sit on your arse and wait for an agent to bang on your door demanding you write a book.

Bollocks.

You have to put yourself out there.

"It's all down to luck," is a fucking insult to the work I put in. My books don't write themselves.

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 05:01 PM
If it was all luck, you could sit on your arse and wait for an agent to bang on your door demanding you write a book.

Bollocks.

You have to put yourself out there.

"It's all down to luck," is a fucking insult to the work I put in. My books don't write themselves.


True. Wait, I hear a knock on the door!...no it wasn't that agent. Grr. haha

Amarie
11-03-2009, 05:02 PM
I hate saying that it is on luck, but many new, published authors will say, "It was luck!"

Bah, your future is in your own hands. ;-)

I wouldn't say it was luck, since I put in 13 years on and off working on my writing. I would say sometimes timing of an idea in a particular genre can play a role, but luck, no.

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 05:05 PM
I wouldn't say it was luck, since I put in 13 years on and off working on my writing. I would say sometimes timing of an idea in a particular genre can play a role, but luck, no.


Yes, timing. Oh, timing. It seems that when I wrote my novel, there weren't others like it out there...well, specifically drawing on the same things I wrote. Anyway, once I send it out, BAM, so many published novels on sort of the same theme. Timing sucks.

scarletpeaches
11-03-2009, 05:07 PM
Timing, well...if timing plays a part you need to be ready.

Being ready is NOTHING to do with luck. It means work on your part and having that book done, waiting for its moment.

The hardest working writers are the 'luckiest'.

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 05:09 PM
Timing, well...if timing plays a part you need to be ready.

Being ready is NOTHING to do with luck. It means work on your part and having that book done, waiting for its moment.

The hardest working writers are the 'luckiest'.

I really do hope I am one of those so-called "lucky" ones. If not, I will still work hard on my story until I am 80 years old. ;-)

scarletpeaches
11-03-2009, 05:10 PM
Ah!

Just remembered the word I was looking for.

It's about being prepared.

Julie Worth
11-03-2009, 05:20 PM
If it was all luck, you could sit on your arse and wait for an agent to bang on your door demanding you write a book.


Like Margaret Mitchell. Of course, she already had a book, but she didn't admit it to the editor who banged on her door.

newgreekwriter
11-03-2009, 05:29 PM
Like Margaret Mitchell. Of course, she already had a book, but she didn't admit it to the editor who banged on her door.
Let's just say that...for Margaret Mitchell it was bound to happen. For some of us, we just don't know people in high places...

michellek
11-04-2009, 11:41 PM
The editor didn't like my writing style. He fired me!

newgreekwriter
11-05-2009, 12:35 AM
The editor didn't like my writing style. He fired me!

Ouch. Well, at least you made it to an editor, Michelle

Nya RAyne
11-15-2009, 01:09 AM
I just recently got a rejection that said, "Your writing needs work." I sent that particular agent 20 pages of a completed ms, and later that day got a reply from another agent whom I had previously sent the same 20 pages to requesting the full ms.

Bottom line, I believe that this business if nothing if not subjective, but we could all improve on our writing regardless of whether we're struggling or best selling authors.

Jamesaritchie
11-15-2009, 08:58 PM
I just recently got a rejection that said, "Your writing needs work." I sent that particular agent 20 pages of a completed ms, and later that day got a reply from another agent whom I had previously sent the same 20 pages to requesting the full ms.

Bottom line, I believe that this business if nothing if not subjective, but we could all improve on our writing regardless of whether we're struggling or best selling authors.


There's very, very little subjectivity in this business, especially about the quality of the writing.

When an agent or editor says your writing needs work, there's just about a 100% chance that it needs work. It's just that really good agents and editors know writing that needs work, and often even writing that's pretty bad, does not automatically mean the novel won't sell and make millions. Just look at Dan Brown. The test, of course, is in what happens down the line.

1. Did the agent who requested the full offer to represent it?

2. If she takes it on, will a publisher buy it?

3. And the only test that matters; if it is published, how many people love it enough to tell their friends, who then tell their friends, who then tell their friends?

The thing is, it really isn't about the writing. All writing has to be is competent. The toughest thing for many new writers to learn is that sometimes "poor" writing tells a better story than "good" writing, and that what the writer says is a thousand times more imortant than how he says it.

childeroland
11-17-2009, 10:52 AM
Got a rejection saying the writing didn't 'grab' the agent, but he/she didn't specifically say it was poor. Does that count?

Wayne K
11-17-2009, 01:38 PM
Got a rejection saying the writing didn't 'grab' the agent, but he/she didn't specifically say it was poor. Does that count?
No.

I got the exact same reject two weeks ago on a ms that my recently signed agent loves. "Doesn't grab me" is very subjective. Keep at it.

Jamesaritchie
11-18-2009, 02:20 AM
Doesn't grab me means the same thing as any other no. It means, "I can't sell this novel."

wannawrite
11-18-2009, 02:32 AM
The pub that bought my work initially told me that I had one of the strongest stories she had seen in years, but that my writing was not up to the caliber of story I was trying to sell.

Ouch.

I sulked. I pouted.

Then I grew up and wrote her back and asked her how I could improve my writing and asked for specific suggestions on becoming a better writer.

She wrote back and offered a contract on the book. Said that if I was willing to put in the work, they would take a chance with me, since the story was so strong. We are now in the second round of revisions....and I have learned enough during the editing proces to know that she was right. My writing WAS weak...but is getting better every day. So is the story.

Just thought I'd throw that out there. Making lemonade out of lemons, and all that....

childeroland
11-18-2009, 03:35 AM
Great to hear -- and congratulations.


No.

I got the exact same reject two weeks ago on a ms that my recently signed agent loves. "Doesn't grab me" is very subjective. Keep at it.

childeroland
11-18-2009, 03:55 AM
Doesn't grab me means the same thing as any other no. It means, "I can't sell this novel."

Of course, but I had been wondering if "doesn't grab me" meant the same as "unsaleable story and writing, period" or is it meant "good story, writing not strong enough."