I was struggling with what to write about for D for this A-Z blog challenge related to my WIP of my first children’s novel I really was.
But then…my saviour for this challenge arrived not half an hour ago in an unexpected guise. For this lunchtime I arrived home to find my very first (as I’m sure there will be others) rejection letter from the publisher I had sent the first three chapters of my WIP to. Mixed emotions as you can imagine, nevertheless the editor had clearly read the chapters thoroughly and has gone to the trouble of providing me with some very constructive, and therefore valuable, feedback.
One being to do with depth. Hence D is for…depth.
Now irony would have it that my story is set in the depths of Trelflande, an imaginary world underneath our own. However from the feedback I’ve received it appears the main issue is actually a lack of depth. Both of the world and of the characters. Believe me this is a hard punch to take after you have spent 2 and a half years working on something and have cut out a lot of these details for fear of there being too much world building and not enough story. Ho hum. Seemingly I may have been closer to the mark with my original beginnings. I have battled long and hard with world building. With no desire to risk boring a child reader with reams of lengthy Tolkien-esque description to begin the story, instead I delved straight into the action because everything I’ve read suggests you need to. Especially in our fast moving, visually stimulating day and age. Perhaps I need to find a balance here and I’m sure I can.
The comments about characters being ‘difficult to relate to’ and being ‘over-credulous, too readily accepting of incredulous events’ are also very fair and something I hope I can easily work on once I find the resolve to get back on the metaphorical horse again. As I have often said before I find character writing very difficult.
So, I have been advised to elaborate on the points made to me, all of which I agree with. Imagine. Me – having to elaborate on things?! Shouldn’t be too difficult should it? 😉
The one thing I was pleased with though is that the actual premise of the story was not dismissed. As you will now know from my previous A-Z posts I worry it’s a bit ‘out there’ and a bit old fashioned. In fact the editor said ‘I felt the narrative had potential – the Blakian pursuit of social and environmental “innocence” as suggested by the title resonating rather nicely in our age of ecological degradation.’ (Blakian being a reference to William Blake not a mispelling of Blaikie!) So I take heart in that.
Furthermore the advice to be prepared to extend the text overall if I hope to achieve the “epic-ness” of authors such as Tolkien and Lewis does not daunt me! Ah ha! At last verbosity wins the day!
And so I will try not to sink into the depths of despair.
Instead I will rise up to the challenge ahead. But perhaps in a few weeks when I muster the courage to go back to the start and change it again.
The journey really does continue…