D is for…depth

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…

9 Comments

Filed under Characters, Editing, Writing

9 responses to “D is for…depth

  1. I’m sorry you got your first rejection letter but it’s also a huge milestone and I’m happy that you weren’t too annoyed by it and saw it as part of the process. I love this challenge and can’t wait to read more!!

  2. Ah, the “almost-there-but-not-quite” rejection! Gotta love it. As you say, at least it shows that the reader took the time to give your work due consideration and provide useful feedback. Nothing hits harder to the gut than the two-line form “not right for me” rejection. It’s hard to take that as anything other than a casual dismissal, despite all the caveats one reads to the contrary. But you have a great attitude about things and your determination to make it work shines through. So bookmark this post to have a laugh over when you’re preparing for your first book signing.

  3. Receiving thoughtful, constructive criticism can be a good thing, but be careful to differentiate between preferential suggestions and actual issues. Not enough depth for one editor may be too many inessential elements for another. It’s a fine line writers have to walk, and you never know what any one reader will love (or not) about your work. Have you sent this to other editors? Not to discredit this one, but it never hurts to have a second opinion. Surely the heads of two readers are better than one?

    You’re a talented writer, J. Keep at it! 🙂

    • Ah thanks jess. Yes it did cross my mind perhaps I need to send to others first as it is before jumping into changes as I do think some subjection obviously comes into it. Thank you. I have thought of a few things I do consider need changing but not too drastic. 🙂

  4. Pingback: G is for… Giving up on Gordano | Writeaway

  5. Pingback: Week 1 of the A-Z Blog Challenge | Writeaway

  6. Pingback: Z is for… Zenith & Zeal | Writeaway

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