Didn't connect with the writing on the page

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Nonicks

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Hi all! I'm trying to understand this rejection I got: " This is such a fun concept, but I didn't connect with the writing on the page the way I need to to be your best advocate". What could "didn't connect with the writing on the page" be? I know this is a slightly different form rejection because I saw the rejections other people posted and this one does seem a bit different. The agent also wanted to hear from me again on future projects. I'm just trying to understand the meaning of it. Does anyone have a clue? :)
Thanks!
 
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lizmonster

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I think it is a form rejection, or at least a version of one. (I've seen agents make mention of a set of forms they draw from.) Fundamentally it just means the book didn't grab them.
 
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I think it means that the voice, the prose style, the level of craft, or something like that didn't engage the agent (not saying the writing wasn't good enough, just that it didn't match what the agent wanted for the story). Obviously the story idea itself is working: "such a fun concept" is a huge compliment!
 

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Yep, it’s basic non-committal language in a rejection. It doesn’t mean anything beyond the fact that the agent didn’t love the novel. It could just as easily mean there are major problems as that something about the writing or the story wasn’t their cup of tea. Nothing more to read into it.
 

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Hi all! I'm trying to understand this rejection I got: " This is such a fun concept, but I didn't connect with the writing on the page the way I need to to be your best advocate". What could "didn't connect with the writing on the page" be? I know this is a slightly different form rejection because I saw the rejections other people posted and this one does seem a bit different. The agent also wanted to hear from me again on future projects. I'm just trying to understand the meaning of it. Does anyone have a clue? :)
Thanks!
If you haven't already, get active in Share Your Work and then post your first five pages for critique in return? Maybe critters can spot whether it's a specific issue (frex annoying MC) or a style thing (query and chapter don't match in terms of voice/pace/tone).
 

Woollybear

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Have you ever read an excerpt that didn't work for you, but you knew it might work for someone else? Could be that the excerpt is written with lots of fragments, or in a too-distant way, or too-purple prose, or too much or too little description, or something else. Could be the main character is too self absorbed. Could be lots of things, but it's easier to reject with a generic 'didn't connect' than risk the author offering to fix a more specific rationale.

So ... ditto to Unimportant--put 500 words on SYW and see what feedback you get. :)
 

Thecla

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I'd take it at face value and move on. There are any number of reasons someone might not connect with a text.

If it becomes a theme in your rejection letters, then you might consider it a problem, and possibly post here to get a range of people telling you why they did or didn't connect. But if it is only one agent, then it's simply a form rejection. No book appeals to all readers, nor should writers try to please all readers.
 
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ChaseJxyz

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Your agent is your hype man, it's their job to run up to everyone and say "omg look at this this is AMAZING! You gotta buy it NOW!" So the stories they pick to represent have to be things they can be this excited about. I'm sure you've read a best seller where you went "ugh! Why do people like this?" or "this feels like a chore to read." That's me and Jane Austen, lol, but that doesn't mean her writing is crap, it just means it's not for me. I'm not the person to convince others to read Austen because I'm not into it. Agents are the same way.

At the end of the day, a lot of this is personal tastes. You just need to find an agent whose tastes align with what you write. So there isn't necessarily anything wrong with you or your work, it's just a not-great matchup.
 

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They didn’t love it — and giving specifics, while it might help you, is often take by authors as a way to keep open a discussion when this is not being offered.
 

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Hi all! I'm trying to understand this rejection I got: " This is such a fun concept, but I didn't connect with the writing on the page the way I need to to be your best advocate". What could "didn't connect with the writing on the page" be? I know this is a slightly different form rejection because I saw the rejections other people posted and this one does seem a bit different. The agent also wanted to hear from me again on future projects. I'm just trying to understand the meaning of it. Does anyone have a clue? :)
Thanks!
For what little this means, this sounds like a form reject to me so I wouldn't read much into it.

Form rejects have gotten very nice in the last year, saying that tastes are subjective, someone else might love it, keep trying, keep them in mind for future projects.

Unless the agent specifically called something out that was in your query or sample it was probably a form. "What a fun concept" vs "the concept of monkeys riding tricycles through time is a fun concept"
 

TCMaynard

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You know I've been thinking a lot about this one lately. I brushed these sorts of responses off as just a friendly form rejection as well — and honestly, they probably still are.

But for me personally, I cleaned up first few pages (entire manuscript, actually...), got help on my query letter and started re-submitting. I went from the most basic of rejections to more of what the op posted, including a couple "I really liked this idea, but ultimately, did not connect" kind of comments.
Could be safe and say a pass is a pass, but it's got me thinking that maybe my first page(s) are still not stellar enough, where in the past it's a juggle between 'bad query?', 'bad premise?' or everything combined!
 
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