About those rejections . . . Dennis writes (and I reply here because the commenting system won’t let me do such a long comment):
>>Funny, isn’t it, that the complaint was about age discrepancies, but the existence of the Marfa Lights was not a suspension-of-disbelief issue.
*Grin* That’s because this was Stephany Evans, who lives half the time in Marfa herself and has seen the Marfa lights (and thus is presumably a believer.) No problem with that being odd at all. *grin*
She said I got the West Texas vibe just right. The way she said that was to lead off her letter by writing, “Thank you for letting me see work from a fellow West Texan!” Well . . . Richardson is a typical suburban Yuppietown. We’re nowhere close to the Western vibe. I have NEVER seen anyone wear a cowboy hat here except my crazy church friend Marcus, who used to wear Western shirts and boots as well and say, ‘Yee-ha!” I think he affected all that so the girls would flock around (and they did!) I am pleased that she thought I had even BEEN to West Texas. OR maybe that was just her way of leading off with something gently encouraging because she’s a nice person and likes to open letters with something other than “Go away.” Can’t read too much into it.
>>These nit-picks that you get . . . there’s nothing consistent about
No, but with me it’s always *something.* It indicates that I am still laboring under the general curse/hex of “fail” and “never publish.” I know that my life took a general turn for the crapper after I left the church that I loved because the guy I loved (who had brought me into that church) dumped me for a newcomer to the church and I eventually decided that I needed to get away because it was bad for my self-esteem to see them constantly in the row ahead flaunting their marriage and pregnancy, etc. with everyone raving about how much better she is than I am (and not just “better for HIM”), etc. Yes, I bailed, but not soon enough, as the entire experience (“You aren’t good enough–here, I’ll show you who’s good enough!”) still damaged my self-image pretty badly. There doesn’t seem to be any way I can fix that event that angered the Universe, but at least I’m still alive, can still see, had a successful medical answer for both me and hubs, etc. God hates it when I whine and say it isn’t fair, so I’ll shut up about that.
>Ari and Zoë are the wrong age? Where’s your target readership on the age scale? Make them that.
Well, that was what I did originally, but then my backstory had to make sense. Coneycat, I think, caught this. Here’s why I can’t just make them in their thirties. I claimed that Ricky fell ill at age eight, and that Zoe had him at sixteen and was kicked out of the house by her mean cold parents to fend for herself (which hardened up Ari as well, seeing the parents were doing this for the wrong reasons and seeing this all getting branded “ToughLove” when her sister had to go on welfare and live in a weekly hotel for a while because the baby’s father was nowhere to be found) and that Ari is the younger sister. Well . . . that means that if Ricky died last year, he was nine, and nine plus sixteen makes 25 for Zoe. But Zoe worked hard and endured, and is now part owner of the daycare business where she originally got a job (because she could keep Ricky there and work as well). She has pulled herself up by her bootstraps. As the series opens, she’s a hermit ’cause she’s still reeling from Ricky’s illness and death. She will come out of her shell as this series progresses as part of the result of helping Ari. I planned ahead. That’s why the ages are as they are.
I’m sure that Ari *doesn’t* act like the typical scatterbrained 23-yr-old, but I thought I had given enough of a tour inside her mind to explain to readers why she is older than her years. I can’t exactly attract an audience writing books that star 100-year-old sages. So the Snoop Sisters are young. However, their SOULS are older. They behave like people in their thirties with better sense. It may be unusual, but I have known people who are that way–older and wiser than you would expect because of coming up the hard way. I guess that’s because it’s true what a few intuitives have said of me–that I’m an Old Soul and have been from childhood. (Don’t be jealous, as the newborn airheads and simpletons and people with no connection to the mystical are so much better off–they don’t agonize, they don’t care so much, and their faces are unlined because they don’t worry about the philosophical implications of it all, but just have another toot or another snort and yee-ha. They are MUCH better off and happier, trust me.)
BUT! Having a character who works against type in any way is simply not acceptable from “a first-time author” who “can’t possibly know how to portray characters properly,” so I get thrown into the recycle bin. No one considers that yes, these kinds of people exist and are special *because* they are different, and a book should be about someone special enough so that it’s worthwhile for you to spend time reading about her instead of about some schlub off the street who never has a thought that the TV didn’t put there . . . but I digress. The point is, they don’t think they can sell the book to an editor who will have to convince the marketing people that the book will appeal to the widest fan base, and so that’s that.
My idea of why a book is worth reading and THEIR idea of why (“it might sell in this market”) is completely different, of course, because they are in it to try to make a career and a living. I just want to be read and have the books say something significant that stays with readers afterwards. Different goals.
But anyhow, those are just the excuses that came to the agent’s mind as the first flaws. My reasoning is that if she’d liked the rest of the book, she’d have merely said, “Make the girls in their thirties.” But there were other issues, so she just dumped it all.
Which is her privilege. She’s not obligated to tell job applicants anything.
They have all the power. Writers have none. I am amazed to see that the writers’ strike has had ANY effect at all on television viewing, as writers are NOT seen as being the driving force behind the dialogue, characters, et al, that they create. I figured no one really cared because they think the actors make that all up as they go along. . . .