Wednesday I received another rejection from an agent. This one hurt a bit more, because this agent had asked to see a fuller synopsis, showing some level of interest in my novel. The closer we are to someone, the more it hurts when we are rejected. I was in great anticipation of her response, and hoping she would ask to see my full manuscript. But instead, she wrote that she "didn't connect" with my story as she had hoped. And she felt that the dual storyline lacked momentum.
What were my reactions? She's right and my manuscript stinks?! She's wrong and she doesn't appreciate brilliance?! There must be a middle ground here. I varied from one extreme to the other before deciding that maybe there are ways to alter the storyline, to improve the tension and momentum leading up to the denouement. I can give Sadie a more prominent role earlier on, and show her storyline apart from Joanna (if you don't know what I'm writing about you'll have to read the book!). Joanna is Equiano's daughter, and Sadie is her first cousin, Equiano's sister's (Oluchukwu) daughter.
Without knowing if this is de rigueur (two French words in one post - my sister is in France and I'm feeling French today!), I sent a reply to her declination, and asked for more advice. I mentioned in my reply that I am 'constrained by historicity' and she picked up on that. Here is part of what she wrote:
To be quite honest, I think my difficulty here is fairly endemic. As you say,
constrained by historicity. I find the fictionalized
history area quite
troublesome generally, because for
me at least, fiction needs to have its own
shape and momentum, i.e. qualities that come from
than depiction and for me,
with its predestined structure, the historical
often loses out. Truth or truth likeness is not a virtue
in itself -
unless you're writing non-fiction.
Help me out here - is this agent predisposed against historical fiction? Do you like historical fiction?
P.S. The answer to the previous post: Jonah!