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Tromboli
08-13-2013, 11:46 PM
I've had a few personal rejections with feedback lately. It's 1 part encouraging, 1 part confusing. Especially when the feedback isn't exactly clear.


One in particular said a lot of good things followed by: Might there be a way to reframe the stress of being a high school outcast that could make the novel stand out more?

Does that mean she thinks the "high school outcast" bit isn't original? Or that the way it's presented isn't good enough? Or... Oh, I don't know.

What do you do when you don't really know what feedback means?

buz
08-13-2013, 11:48 PM
I've had a few personal rejections with feedback lately. It's 1 part encouraging, 1 part confusing. Especially when the feedback isn't exactly clear.


One in particular said a lot of good things followed by: Might there be a way to reframe the stress of being a high school outcast that could make the novel stand out more?

Does that mean she thinks the "high school outcast" bit isn't original? Or that the way it's presented isn't good enough? Or... Oh, I don't know.

What do you do when you don't really know what feedback means?


Ask other people...:D

How are you currently framing it? Like, how are you getting across the high school outcast bit?

Terie
08-13-2013, 11:52 PM
Take this opinion for exactly what you paid for it. :)

It sounds to me as if this person thinks your treatment of the stress of being a HS outcast isn't as interesting or unusual as it could be, as if it's perhaps a wee bit cliche or pedestrian.

Whether that means you need to rewrite is entirely up to you.

Good luck, whatever comes next!

Tromboli
08-14-2013, 12:03 AM
uh, the first chapter is her in school as others talk about her pretty loudly. She ignores it. Someone steals something that means a lot to her and she has to stand up to him to get it back.

That's the biggest gist. The agent only read three chapters, and that's the only one in the first few that really revolves around being an outcast (though it's a theme throughout) and then it goes into non school related events, someone who knows her dead murderer father etc etc.

buz
08-14-2013, 12:27 AM
uh, the first chapter is her in school as others talk about her pretty loudly. She ignores it. Someone steals something that means a lot to her and she has to stand up to him to get it back.

That's the biggest gist. The agent only read three chapters, and that's the only one in the first few that really revolves around being an outcast (though it's a theme throughout) and then it goes into non school related events, someone who knows her dead murderer father etc etc.

Hm. She's bullied, you mean? Maybe the agent's tired of seeing bullied outcasts? I dunno. :D On second thought, it's really hard to guess from a summary...so maybe that was a stupid question on my part :p

Have you had this bit critted/beta'd/whatever?

waylander
08-14-2013, 01:35 AM
She's bullied, but the way you portray it is just with simple standard bitchiness. You need them to do something different to her that really cuts (and the agent hasn't seen before). Maybe they could set up a webpage of 'why I hate [main character]' or something similar.

Debbie V
08-14-2013, 07:56 PM
My take is that the agent doesn't feel you've handled it in an original way. However, her take could differ.

Do other agents seem to agree? If not, maybe it's not that big of a deal. One subjective opinion does not break a story.

Did this agent ask you to revise? If so, ask for clarification first.

wampuscat
08-14-2013, 09:24 PM
Did you have beta readers? Maybe they would have more insight?

gingerwoman
08-17-2013, 06:08 AM
Take this opinion for exactly what you paid for it. :)

It sounds to me as if this person thinks your treatment of the stress of being a HS outcast isn't as interesting or unusual as it could be, as if it's perhaps a wee bit cliche or pedestrian.

Whether that means you need to rewrite is entirely up to you.

Good luck, whatever comes next!
That's what it sounds like to me too. It sounds like they think you need to work on that aspect more, and go deeper. I've had feedback comments like that from editors on aspects of things I've written, that have actually really helped me.

Putputt
08-17-2013, 01:15 PM
uh, the first chapter is her in school as others talk about her pretty loudly. She ignores it. Someone steals something that means a lot to her and she has to stand up to him to get it back.

That's the biggest gist. The agent only read three chapters, and that's the only one in the first few that really revolves around being an outcast (though it's a theme throughout) and then it goes into non school related events, someone who knows her dead murderer father etc etc.

I agree with waylander that the examples you have are pretty standard bitchiness. It's not unfixable though. I used to have pretty pedestrian bullying in my own book, until one of my super awesome betas (*cough* Buz *cough*) suggested ramping it up by having someone cut out a cow's heart and putting it on the MC's bed. My book is a fantasy novel where the kids are in assassin school, so obviously that's pretty extreme, but I think finding more creative ways of bullying might help the book stand out.

Tromboli
08-17-2013, 04:25 PM
Thanks everyone.

Yes, I've had betas- no comments on that. And no, the other agent feedback said nothing about the bullying being un original. One agent said she loved that aspect actually (well, more the reason why she's bullied) but wasn't as into the fantasy aspects it moves into. The other said the storyline was confusing. (This agent asked to see it again if I revised)

Jennifer_Laughran
08-17-2013, 10:42 PM
I don't want to sound harsh but... I feel like you're overthinking it. She's saying no. She isn't asking to see the manuscript again. Sooo... who really gives a fig what she thinks?

I mean, if this was feedback that resonated with you, fantastic, by all means implement it. But this actually just sounds like a random off-the-cuff comment from somebody who isn't an interested party. So I wouldn't put too much stock in it.

As you must know there are a million YA books with a bullying element or an "outcast"... so, yours will have to bring something fresh to the table if it isn't going to seem cliche. The takeaway for me would not be "what specific thing should I change" -- it would be "does this stand out enough?"

If the answer is "yep!" then don't worry about one comment. If the answer is "welll... hmmmm...." then you might want to revisit and revise.

Tromboli
08-19-2013, 06:11 AM
Thanks. The problem was that, when I first read it, I didn't know what she meant. Now that I have a better idea, I'm glad for the nice cooments and ready to focus on other aspects (I did does need a revision of some kind) Thanks, everyone, for the help.

wampuscat
08-19-2013, 11:05 PM
Thanks everyone.

Yes, I've had betas- no comments on that. And no, the other agent feedback said nothing about the bullying being un original. One agent said she loved that aspect actually (well, more the reason why she's bullied) but wasn't as into the fantasy aspects it moves into. The other said the storyline was confusing. (This agent asked to see it again if I revised)

Sorry. I wasn't very clear. What I meant to say is that perhaps you could contact your betas, tell them about the agent's advice, and see if they have any thoughts. They might have an outsider perspective that you can't see right now. (But of course, if no one else has said anything, it may not be a problem. That agent just may not have been the agent for you.)

Good luck, Tromboli! I feel like it's just a matter of time for you!