Saturday 25 August 2012

I might as well eat some worms

So after feeling good after being fairly productive this morning, I received another rejection letter in the post. It's a generic, pre-typed thing, with a blank space for them to hand-write my name.  Because it's a generic, pre-typed thing, it makes their sentiments (no matter how nice they are) seem false.  Again, I won't name names, but here it is.

Dear Rebeccah,

Thank you for your recent submission, which we read with interest, and although we did enjoy looking at your material, in the end we did not feel that it was something that would be suitable for our list.

Unfortunately, because of the high volume of submissions that we receive, and the relatively small size of our office staff, we are unable to provide consultation.  Also, we are not able to make individual comments on manuscripts, nor can we enter into correspondence regarding our decisions.

Please do not be discouraged by our response.  We hope that you will be able to find the right mix of agent and publisher to take your project forward.  Thank you for thinking of [us] in the first instance.

Yours sincerely

It's a nice enough letter, but it's still disappointing, especially when I am reading a book right now that is of a similar subject matter to my novel, and that got published.

After spending hours and days and weeks editing and rereading and rewriting and having my manuscript checked over by other people for typos and plot anomalies, I'm upset to see a published book with this error.

On page 244 of dot.homme by Jane Moore, Simon is talking to Jess.  They had been out on a date previously, but he had done a runner on her, leaving her to pay for the meal.  Reluctantly she agrees to meet up with him again to let him explain.  He says "...I was wondering if you would consider letting me take you out for lunch..."

A couple of pages pass, with her umming and aahing about the whole situation, and then on page 247 Jess says, "I could do lunch next Tuesday," to which Simon responds with, "Can't do lunches at all ... Remember Gordon Ghekko and 'lunch is for wimps'? ... It'll have to be dinner, I'm afraid."

Now I know you'll probably think I'm being pedantic, but surely she had read her book, as well as her mum and dad and friends and then the agent and then the editor and the publisher and then her again.  Right?  I'm not particularly good at picking up on continuity error.  I can watch films and television programmes and people could change their whole wardrobe in every camera angle, and I wouldn't notice, but I managed to notice this.  Why did no-one else notice it?

I am also not impressed with the unnatural language in places.  Don't get me wrong; it's not a terrible book.  I am enjoying it, but I think I am reading it with a different eye now that I've written my own book.  Perhaps if I was just a reader I wouldn't be so picky, but this is my issue.  [SPOILER ALERT]

Jess' sister, Livvy, has breast cancer and she's at home in bed.  She's talking about dying and her will and the fact that her children might be left motherless, and she asks Jess if she will be a legal guardian of the children. This causes Livvy to start crying, and Jess says, "There, there, don't upset yourself."  Who says 'there, there' when someone is crying?  Especially when it's to do with the results of cancer.

I know part of me is jealous because she's published and I'm not.  But still.  They could have paid me to check over her novel and make it better than it already is.  I'm reasonably cheap, so if anyone wants me to read their book, I'll do it!

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