View Full Version : Not Falling In Love with My Characters' Voices

11-14-2006, 03:13 AM
That was what it said in my latest full rejection. And I've received this feedback more than once. :cry: I don't know if this mean what it says, or it's just a standard form rejection line. I don't know if I should rewrite some of it, and I don't know if I even want to....

Rejection sucks.

11-14-2006, 03:22 AM
It doesn't sound exactly like a standard rejection to me, but more of a specific comment.

I'm sorry you're getting rejected Provrb. Have some B&J tonight, watch a good movie, feel sorry for yourself, get a good night's rest, and get back into the trenches tomorrow.

clara bow
11-14-2006, 03:55 AM
what a disappointment that must be for you after all the requests for material. Sorry to hear that. Has a critique partner(s) reviewed your work? Might help to do that to rule out the agent subjectivity factor. If you haven't done it already, hook up with someone who will give you a frank opinion. Otherwise, keep sending out the query because it is, after all, a highly subjective business.

Thomma Lyn
11-14-2006, 04:19 AM
Hugs, Meggy. Right there with ya. So far, my very feisty, blunt, suffer-no-foolishness main character isn't exactly winning hearts and minds. She's too "militant."

Funny thing, though: one of my Beta readers told me that in her opinion, my MC wasn't militant enough.

Yup, what Clara said: subjectivity.

Hang in there! :)

11-14-2006, 04:51 AM
You are doing great! Really. I'm amazed you finished a book at all at your age. And then to send out queries and get requests for partials?!?! And have some of those partials turn in to fulls!?!?!?!? You are incredible. Some one's going to love it eventually.:


11-14-2006, 04:59 AM
Ha..none of the partials exactly turned into fulls. All of my full requests were from my query. If I got some full requests off of my partials, I think I'd have a little more faith. However, I have had some positive rejections, along the lines of "seed of a great project." After these agents are done looking at it, I think I might finish editing my new novel and start querying for that. I think it's stronger.

But thanks so much for the compliment!

11-14-2006, 05:45 AM
Oh, Meggy, I can empathize 100%! I've had "voice" issues, too, and they can be hard to contend with because your sentences can be mechanically right-on but the voice can still be lacking.

One thing I did during my most recent revisions was read through Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages: A Writer's Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile. It's a quick read and full of good tidbits about how to further refine your writing (including characterization). I definitely recommend it.

Another thing I did was try to conceive of my characters in terms of personality--if I met them at a dinner party, what would my impressions be? Perhaps think of your characters that way.

Hope this helps. Poke around on the Writing Novels forum, too, for some insight. (After all, I am a newbie unpublished writer still searching for an agent . . .)

11-14-2006, 06:06 AM
Keep up the great attitude, Meggy (as in working on novel number two and already strategizing next move). I'm beginning to query and keeping my head on straight is the hardest part. Rejections force you to look critically at your MS, yet you're constantly told to keep the faith. It can be hard to sort through, but you've got the right idea. Keep thinking and doing.

11-14-2006, 06:38 PM
Ditto on what everybody else said. Even if this is your box-under-the-bed novel (and most of us have a few of them, I think), you've proven that you can behave professionally and really hold your place in the publishing world.

11-14-2006, 07:00 PM
Rejection does, indeed, suck. It's a testament to your perseverance and talent that you're getting requests for fulls. Good for you! Keep at it, and if this one doesn't sell, you always have the next one.

Write on!

11-14-2006, 08:45 PM
Yes, hang in there. I also get that rejection about "not falling in love with the voice" so I just keep working on it and my other novels till i get it right.

11-14-2006, 08:48 PM
Can't really add much to the great advice people have already given. You're talented and persistent, so I'm sure you'll find success, it's just a matter of time.

It is worth asking if the "voice" critique is a valid one. Are the characters coming off as fully-rounded people, etc? If, after taking a hard look at your work, and perhaps getting more feedback from people whose opinions on writing you value, you decide no change is needed, you know what to do--just keep sending it out!

:Hug2: in the meantime, you know we're rooting for you.

11-15-2006, 01:00 AM
Hmm, well I've gotten "Didn't fall in love with the story" which is way worse, because I don't know what to fix except... durdurdur, EVERYTHING! :(

Anyway, I think your new novel's terrific and even if you end up shelving the Fareeda/Tammy/Dwight novel (like I did with my last two) you definitely might have better luck with Gotta Get a Q.

11-16-2006, 05:03 AM
I am not sure what I'm going to do. I don't know, if I don't get an agent, if I'll try with one of the smaller or midsize publisher that accepts submissions, or if I'll start submitting Gotta Get A Q, of course, after revision. I think my new novel is more marketable, but I'm still in love with my first. That might be dumb sentimental attachment though, because so much of it was drawn from my own life and I put myself into the characters.


But hey, maybe some agent will totally dig my novel and sign me.

11-16-2006, 05:17 AM
meggy - start number two and three...although I loved my first novel and it got requests for fulls and partials - the agents didn't love it - I concentrated on my next project and novel number three got me my agent-
good luck

11-16-2006, 05:25 AM
Oh, meggy! All of the above posters gave you good advice. You'll get there soon. I know you will. Here's some chocolate (chocolate always helps!):

11-19-2006, 07:18 AM
I agree with Pisarz on Noah Lukeman's The First Five Pages. Doesn't hurt to look over some books on characterization, etc. to see where you can improve. I'm not so sure about the "start a new book" idea. I would think that studying your current project, understanding your mistakes, improving it, reworking it and learning your craft would be more beneficial. Is it better to ditch what isn't good enough and start something new, or to study and discover what isn't working and go through the learning curve to fix it?
Keep on rolling, whatever you do!

Sean D. Schaffer
11-19-2006, 08:06 AM
That was what it said in my latest full rejection. And I've received this feedback more than once. :cry: I don't know if this mean what it says, or it's just a standard form rejection line. I don't know if I should rewrite some of it, and I don't know if I even want to....

Rejection sucks.

I'm sorry that happened to you. I agree with a number of the posters who've already given their words of wisdom. Take some time to relax, maybe feel sorry for yourself, have some chocolate....but whatever you do, make sure you feel better when you're all done. I hope and pray that you find a good publisher for your work.


11-19-2006, 07:39 PM
Oh, I'm over it now. Yay me! Thanks everyone for your kind words and all your advice.

11-19-2006, 09:22 PM
I would do more work on my characters. I once got a rejection which said the editor found my heroine difficult to feel sympathy for. I have changed that character's voice so many times since then but I still don't know if she is the type of person you feel sympathy for. I don't even know if I want readers to feel sympathy for her in the beginning. She's a pain in the butt when the story opens but undergoes a profound transformation during the course of the book.