Yes it’s another post about rejection. If I have to suffer through multiple rejections so do the rest of you.
One of the problems with making any kind of art is that the maker is usually too close to it to tell if it’s any good. So you need to look to others for feedback. But if other people don’t like it then it might be because this is not the sort of thing they like or it might be because your art is not very good. And if they do like it then they might be lying, or have terrible taste or low standards.
I know that some of the things that I like are not very good. There are some films that I’m very fond of that are clearly terrible examples of film making. I also know that there are other things that I don’t like that are clearly very good. I can’t stand the UK version of The Office. It just makes me cringe but I can tell that it’s good.
So when an agent tells me that they didn’t find the concept of my novel compelling enough that leaves me with three options:
- This is not the sort of thing they like – nothing I could have done would have made them like the novel.
- The concept of the novel is bad and the novel cannot be saved – nothing I can do will make any agent like the novel.
- I have failed to properly explain the concept of the novel. The concept is fine I’m just shitty at writing query letters etc.
My instinct is that the concept is awesome but weird and I’m not very good at explaining it. I think that, judging by the other authors represented by this agent, it’s probably not option 1.
I’m dreadfully afraid that it’s option 2. I’ve invested a lot of time into this novel and its sequels. What if it’s just not very good? What if the underlying concept upon which I’ve built an entire series is just terrible and I’m too close to it to see? How would I know?
The whole thing makes me feel like I’ve been presumptuous. How dare I think that I have anything interesting to say? How dare I think that anyone professional would be interested in my shitty little stories?
I can’t be the only writer to feel this way. I just wish there was some way to turn off the internal monologue that is now telling me, over and over again, that I’m an idiot.