Friday, 14 October 2011

We Can Re-Build Her...


After my latest Teenage book was rejected by every last one of those nice Literary Agent type people from the Writer's and Artists Yearbook, I did what I don't generally do and retreated quietly into my cave with what felt like huge, gaping wounds around about my tail area.
I have spent so long licking these open sores (yes, I'm being metaphorical here although I am beginning to gross myself out now)  and have so little fur protecting my rear parts that I need to stop henceforth, regroup, settle down and allow my pelt to grow back at a gentle pace.
God, I LOVE a good analogy!
And I thought I was going to do with this book what I've done with the others (4, but who's counting?) which is hide it away in a folder on the pc.... 
BUT one comment from my Rejectors has been swirling about  in my brain for so long now that it's finally sparked enough neurons to have formed it's own community in my lateral cortex, preventing the book from flatlining completely.


And that comment was that the MC didn't have any compulsion to 'get better'.
Oky, so the story started off at the right 'place' - with a nice juicy hook and worm and... enough analogies now...  began with a good grip anyway; BUT the main character just didn't warrant enough reader-sympathy to propel the story forward.
MC was a fairly likeable girl.  A little flawed, but then show me a teen who isn't.  She had a bit of an attitude and came from a decent working-class family with the usual standard dysfunctions.  So far, so fine.
But 'fine' isn't enough these days.  Is it?
Even though the story was interesting (yeah right, SO interesting, agents were drawing daggers at dawn for a piece of it) Miss MC just didn't have enough 'changeability' about her to warrant a journey of self-discovery.

Imagine, if you will, Dorothy.  Or Cinderella.  Or the Ugly Duckling.
Nice characters.  Pleasant surroundings, a few not so nice secondary characters who offer conflict for their own wildly differing reasons, but they NEED a change to happen in their literary lives, don't they?  And these all DO.
Mine didn't.  Not so much as you'd noticed, anyway.
Okay, so she went on a journey, she found out some stuff,  had a few frights, laughs, moments of sadness and the book ended on a cheeky note of hopeful-ever-after; but she didn't scream "aaaargghhhhh! see what I NEED?"  from page one, which readers like to see; want to feel.
A reader needs to have this.  A reader deserves this.  Otherwise where's the point in a story?

Cinderella HAD to go to the ball to find her Happy Ending.
The Ugly Duckling had to shed his puppy fur to find his snowy white feathers.
and Dorothy needed to be blown to Nethercome to realise there's no place like Home.

My MC requires a healthy injection of Need; she's not ready to pass over into archive-heaven just yet.  All I have to do is breathe a bit more into her and I think she'll be good to go.

So, excuse me while I scrub up, pull on my green wellies and tie on my surgical mask - this could get bloody brilliant! (although I may need an analogy-bypass to get ME through this operation...).

8 comments:

JO said...

Thanks for sharing your angst - it's always tough, thinking through major changes to a character and plot we love. But it's oddly encouraging to know that everyone goes through this.

Roderic Vincent said...

Good luck Debs. I admire your perseverance, having utterly given up myself. I find myself bridling at the need to meet a formula, but this is YA fiction and I know nothing about that. Go for it!

Debs Riccio said...

Angst and perseverence - I have these in spadeloads. Watch this space (although there's every likelihood it will fill with twitter birds or the Facebook icon in a matter of time - add procrastination to the list!).

Ryshia Kennie said...

Love the analogies. Rejection - Isn't that the acid test of writing? Sounds like you're ready to stop licking your wounds and take on a cat or two - or is that just what my dog would do?

Stu Ayris said...

That's a really great article! Says so well how it feels when we hold up our heart and soul, all those words written with so much intent, only to be dismissed by just a few throw away words from someone we have never met. It's bloody hard! I love your attitude! Keep on keeping on!!

Stu
http://tollesburytimeforever.blogspot.com/

Debs Riccio said...

Ryshia and Stu - thanks for the cheerleading - GO ME (she says, heading for the biscuit tin for inspiration)!

Susie Nott-Bower said...

Yes, go YOU, Debs - you know what you want to do with your MC and that's half the battle won, I reckon! Fingers firmly crossed that she will attract a very large juicy worm...er, agent.
Susiex

Fionnuala said...

Yay Debs! Welcome back,now be off with you and inject some need into that girl... x