Hello my Poppets...

Sorry to have been AWOL for so long–life got away from, or ahead of, me and I succumbed to my characteristic sloth in all things. :blush: Not to mention a recent bout with a very bad back–the combination of age and injury is not a pretty one. However, vic-k (or fluff) has kindly dragged me back out of oblivion and into civilization once again.

Not much of great news to report. I got very pseudo-positive responses to my novel - 12 fairly reputable agents asked to see the full and came back with such enlightening comments as “I really enjoyed your pitch for this novel, and couldn’t wait to see more. I wish I were now writing with better news.Unfortunately, I just didn’t fall in love with the writing style as I’d hoped. I’m sorry to disappoint” “Well many many times in the course of my reading I found myself smiling, since I personally could identify with much that you were writing about. But despite this pleasure I wasn’t as taken with the ms. as I’d need to be to want to represent the book in today’s horrendous publishing climate. It was clear as day you know the horse world, but not quite so clear you have the mechanics of writing a novel down - I felt this was way too long, didn’t hold the reader’s attention sufficiently in terms of dramatic narrative, and that your character - who should be very sympathetic to us, just doesn’t come across that way.”“I think this is really promising but it just doesn’t move fast enough for me, so I’ve decided to pass.I think you ought to keep trying elsewhere, see what other agents think. If you don’t get any takers, you should think about taking a red pencil to what you’ve written and cut it down as much as you can so it moves faster. I liked the plot synopsis and felt you had strong characters, it’s just that I didn’t find this a page turner, because the pace is too slow. I felt you got bogged down in too much language.” “I think you are a good writer, both polished and smart. In the end, there’s something about the texture and the tone of the narrative that, didn’t grab me as a reader. I didn’t connect emotionally to the characters and the storyline. I just wasn’t feeling transported. I’m sorry.”“You are an excellent writer and I think the story is very interesting…however, somehow, I did not really connect with the narrative, I somehow felt that it was a bit to jarring for me, as it jumped around a lot, but that is my personal, very very subjective, response, so another agent may have the completely opposite reaction”
And the best of all, even though she got the name of my protagonist wrong:

"I had the chance to finish up HORSEPOWER over the weekend, and while I think this is a story that has a ton of potential–and that you show great promise as a writer–there were certain elements of the novel that prevented me from falling in love with it in the way I’d need to to sign you as a client.

I enjoyed getting pulled into the world of horses. I rode as a teenager, and I really miss it. The power and beauty of horses is unmatched by any other animal. At the beginning of the story, I really identified with Julie’s character; she’s a woman on the verge of many changes in her life, but not quite sure what to do about it. I think that’s something a lot of women can relate to! I also enjoyed reading about the tragic history of Robert’s family–the fall of an empire. I enjoyed Margo’s character as well, though her “Frenchness” seemed to disappear as the story progressed. Another thing that changed for me as the story progressed was how I felt about Julie’s character. Julie made a lot of tough choices in the beginning, but instead of seeing her grow stronger from these choices, I worry that she became just as disempowered in her new life as she was in her old life. She went from living with Margo to living on Robert’s land–and Robert clearly didn’t want her there, and yet Julie acted as though she had some sort of right to be there. That was a disconnect in the story for me, especially after Julie stopped riding Swallow. If she wasn’t permitted to ride Swallow any longer, and Robert had made it clear he didn’t want her there, then why would Julie feel compelled to stay? I wanted more from the plot here–I wanted something more that kept her tethered to the farm, to keep that part of the story believable.

Additionally, as the story progresses, Julie seems to become more and more nervous, crying and having little breakdown episodes. So much so that when finally does make a large display of strength (showing up to ride Swallow at the end, for instance), it’s overshadowed by her nervousness. I had hoped to get more of a sense of Julie finding herself through Swallow, and then taking that new “self” and standing on her own two feet. But Julie’s character always seems to be looking to the other, tougher characters in the book (namely Margo and Robert) to care for her. And while that played well for me in the beginning, by the end, I was hoping for more from Julie.

I enjoyed Julie’s love affair with Robert, but I would have also loved to see a bit more romantic tension between them as the story progressed. Their contact is so limited that Julie’s first admission of wanting Robert surprised me–I wanted more proximity between them–more tiny, electric-charged moments, that would convince me exactly how much she wanted him.

Zoe, I’m sorry I don’t have better news for you right now. But for me, the story just wasn’t quite there yet. I hope another agent feels differently and snaps you up soonest. But should you not sign with anyone and decide to revise the manuscript, I’d be happy to take another look."

I am probably violating all sorts of copyright rules by posting these here. :laughing: But I’m not as thoroughly discouraged as I might be. I’m researching the next unpublishable magnum opus right now, and once I get a rough draft finished, I may well go back to the horse book and see if I’ve learned anything, maybe redo it and send it off to the kind lady who wrote me the last (and most detailed, most postive) rejection.

Failing that, I am going to have to get a job. :open_mouth: :open_mouth: We met with our “financial advisor” (as if we had any finances left to advise about :laughing: ) last week and in order for my poor long-suffering husband to finally retire next year, I am going to have to pitch in at least part-time to keep bread on the table (and the horses in the barn). So I figure I have one more chance to crack the best-seller ceiling and then it’s off to a life of ignominy. Chin up, though, Keith, if you’re reading this–you can’t imagine how useful Scrivener has become as a tool for designing our retirement cottage! :smiley:

MM, perhaps you’d like to hear the other side of the story, or what happens to one’s precious book after it gets sold and published. Then comes the trial of trying to get reviews and sell copies. The publishers don’t help with that any more. The burden falls entirely on authors. The bookstore reps do little, and the customers in the bookstores…well, read the following post:

Notes from an ER Bookseller

When Cynthia Christensen, owner of Book Stop in Hood River, Ore., had pneumonia and laryngitis, her original solution for working at the store was to put up a sign that said, “I have laryngitis and can’t talk at all. However, I know several useful hand gestures. Not all of them are rude.” But this didn’t work because people asked so many open-ended questions. Her doctor then forbade her to go to work until her voice returned.

So for two weeks, her husband, Charlie, who usually works in an ER, stepped in and replaced her in the store. He kept notes in a journal of interactions with customers (and non-customers!), which came to form what he calls “a simultaneous rant and ode to the trade.” Cynthia noted that Charlie now has “a much greater appreciation for what I do, and belligerent drunks in his ER don’t annoy him as much as they did before.”

Among the conversations:

“I’m just browsing.”

“I’m just killing time.”

“Do you have a restroom? My son needs to poop.”

“Do you have this used?” (Holds up a book just released in paperback that day.) “It was just released today.” “But you’re a used bookstore.” “Sorry, they haven’t figured out how to print them used.”

“Where is the free parking?”

“Can I get change for the meter?”

“What do you sell here?”

“Do you have any free maps?”

“Can I use this water bowl over here for my dog?”

“Is this all you have for a Christian section? God!”

“I need a Band-Aid.”

“Can my kids stay here while I’m eating next door?”

“How do I know the price?”

“Is there a restroom here?” (Many, many, many more times today.)

“Do you have ________?” (Insert obscure, possibly fake book title to look cool in front of friends with no chance of having actually to spend any money.)

“Can I make you a deal on this book?”

“Have you seen my wife?”

“Do you have maps?” (Looks at map, writes directions, incorrectly folds map, leaves it on the sofa.)

“Where is your Red Tail Hawk section? You know, the bird.”

“Where am I?”

“Can I bring my dog in your store?”

“Do you sell coffee?”

“Is this a library?”

“Was Abraham Lincoln really a vampire hunter?”

“Do you have Under the Dome in softcover?”

“Is my mommy there? I miss talking to her.” (Our 22-year-old daughter, Laura.)

“How come this town has three bookstores?”

“I can get it cheaper on Amazon.”

“Can you describe the lay of the land around here?”

“Will my car get towed if I leave it in front of your store all day?”

“I’m looking for a book that has the word ‘free’ in the title.”

“Mom, I have to poop!”

“Do you have a chicken section? Goats?”

“Have you seen my children?”

“Do you carry newspapers?” (I show him the Hood River News.) “That’s not a newspaper.”

“Do you have any way so that I don’t have to pay these meters?”

“There’s a hair on this sofa.”

“Mom, can I have this Clifford book?” “No, Clifford gets on my nerves.”

“Are all these books donated to you, so I can just take one?”

“Do you buy books?” “No, but we’ll take certain books in for store credit.” “So you buy books?” “No. We just trade for store credit.” “I just want money.”

“If I bring in some books, can you tell me what they’re worth so I can sell them on eBay?”

“I never knew there was a library here.” “There is, but it’s on the next street over.” “What is this?” “It’s a bookstore.” “Oh, I don’t read.”

“Can you watch my children while I eat at the bagel shop?”

“Are these books for sale or do you just collect them?”

“Dad, look a bookstore! Let’s take a look.” “Why? It’s just books.” “Come on, it will just take a minute.” “No, reading is stupid.”

“Have you read all these books? When do you watch TV?”

“Are you hiring?” “No.” “I like books.” “So do I.” “I promise not to get in the way. I could just read or something.”

“Are you hiring?” “No.” “Good! Can I use your company’s name?” “Why?” “I have to tell the Unemployment Department I can’t find a job.”

“Do you have women in here?”

“I need quarters for your stupid parking machines.”

“Can I buy a stick of your gum?” (Seeing my personal pack behind the counter)? “No, that’s not for sale. But you can buy a book.” “No, I hate books.”

The Book Stop web site is news.shelf-awareness.com/ct.jsp? … Biz9783138

[size=150]PURE GUINNESS!! [/size] :laughing: :laughing: :laughing:

All my money has been invested in medical science. My three financial advisors (Wife,Two Daughters & Co) have invested all my money in Female Fashion Retail Therapy Outlets.

I would not get deflated over struggles of realizing your dreams.

For example. Take the story of an unknown actor who his mother suffered during labor forced her obstetricians to use two pairs of forceps during his birth; misuse of these accidentally severed a nerve and caused paralysis in parts of his face, resulting in his signature slurred speech and drooping lower lip. Who later enrolled into Beauty school (which he later dropped out) then went to school for drama. He came within a few credit hours of graduation before he decided to drop out and pursue a career writing screenplays under the pen names Q. Moonblood and J.J. Deadlock (under neither of which names he sold any scripts) while at the same time taking bit parts in movies.

This person had an idea for a movie and wrote a script. He shopped the idea around for years but was turned down by many places. He eventually got someone to say yes and with a budget of only $1 million dollars his movie was made (AVATAR had a budget of over $300 million) . Shooting for the movie was only 28 days. He was the lead actor but at first the makers were unsure of an “unknown” taking the lead role. They originally had ideas for other more well known actors but with the very low budget they gave this unknown a chance. The movie was considered the most profitable movie of all time making over $200 million in box office receipts.

The “unknown” was Silvester Stalone. The Movie was ROCKY.

Another story was there was this guy (Jeffrey Katzenberg) who was the “Genius” at Disney and was brought in to head the Studio. As the studio head, Katzenberg was responsible for turning the studio around. He first had the studio focus on the production of adult-oriented comedies under its Touchstone Pictures banner. Katzenberg was also charged with turning around Disney’s ailing Feature Animation unit, creating some intrastudio controversy when he personally edited three minutes out of a completed Disney animated feature, The Black Cauldron (1985), shortly after joining the company. Under his management, the animation department eventually began creating some of Disney’s most critically acclaimed and highest grossing animated features. In addition, Katzenberg also sealed the deal that created the highly successful partnership between Pixar and Disney and the deal that brought Miramax Films into Disney.

When Eisner’s ( CEO and the number 1 guy at Disney) second in command, Frank Wells, died in a helicopter crash in 1994, Eisner refused to promote Katzenberg to the vacated position of president. When Katzenberg pushed the issue, Eisner forced him to resign.

So Katzenberg had an ambitious idea about starting his own Movie Studio which would be very selective about what movies they would release. (Only top shelf movies, no flops or "b movies) which of course everyone in the business thought this was absolutely insane considering the “Big Six” studios where usually the ones who had deep enough pockets to produce top shelf films. So Katzenberg called his friend Steven Spielberg. At the suggestion of Spielberg’s friend (Katzenberg), the two made an agreement with long-time Katzenberg collaborator David Geffen to start their own studio while everyone else in the business just shook their heads and called them crazy.

The studio they started is a household name name. Under the logo of the Studio are the letters SKG (Speilberg, Katzenberg, Geffen).

Above those three letters is the word


The summary of this novel? There have been times when “experts” and “professionals” in many creative fields have said “no” or “that is crazy, a bad idea” etc.

Perseverance and the willingness to not give in on a dream has many a time led us to some of the biggest success stories in history. If it is your dream. Don’t give up.

PS: Financial Advice.

Invest in Beer, Liqour, or wine.

Molly just don`t do 'Give up’s. Snot in her blood, or,whatever chemical compound she got flowing through her veins.

Believe me, I have tried to give it up. I would if I could. :confused: I think it was Chekhov who counseled, “If you can not write, don’t.” I was pretty successful for about ten years, but it took its toll. Thank God I succumbed and started scribbling again before the little men in their white coats came for me or I committed prolicide on my poor unsuspecting offspring. :open_mouth: