Friday, February 20, 2009

Thanks, but no thanks!

Woke up to a lovely but not so lovely (iykwim) email from Lucy Gilmour at M&B this morning. The short version is... they've rejected ''The Who's Who of Matt McKinnell.'' 

The good bit is: 
''You certainly have a very lively writing style and have created two great characters in Libby and Matt.  There is much to like about this manuscript, but unfortunately, we do not think this particular manuscript is suitable for publication.  Please do not be too disappointed as we think your voice shows a great deal of potential for our Modern Heat series.''

And she's asked me to submit my next partial directly to her, which means I can high jump the slush pile. 

The bad bit???

EMOTIONAL - BLOODY- CONFLICT (scuse my French)!!!

There's contracts, revisions and rejections floating around the blogs at the moment and the one phrase that is coming up on ALL is Emotional Conflict. Those who've been given contracts have nailed this elusive EC, those of us with revisions or rejections, haven't quite made it. 

Lucy King and Jackie Ashenden are discussing this very issue on their blogs at the moment and they raise some excellent pointsl 

My problem was that I had a strong external conflict and lots of potentially good aspects of emotional conflict (the heroine was adopted and thought she was infertile and the hero had just discovered his father wasn't his real father) but I didn't develop these enough and make them SO BIG it stopped h&H from getting together. Or rather looked as if it could stop them!!

Another interesting issue was that my heroine had elements that M&B thought made her seem unlikeable...what I'd read as ambition, they'd read as ruthless. Interestingly enough, they mentioned something from my first chapter (which you'll hopefully get to read soon) as being one of the things that made the heroine look dodgy!!! 

So where to from here??

I'm currently working on the planning of two different ideas - one set in Hollywood and the other in Edinburgh. As I never actually had the phone consultation I won in the contest, I'm gonna be cheeky and ask if I can prepare two proposals and Lucy tell me which one she'd like me to work on next. Here's hoping she says ''yes.'' 

Then... it'll be back to the writing pad!


Sami Lee said...

Bad luck Rach -- sorry to hear this. But feedback is always better than a form letter so take heart from that.

Christina Phillips said...

Sorry about the pass, Rach. But Lucy gave you great feedback. And yes, be cheeky and ask about the proposals! Especially since you didn't get the phone consultation (what happened there?)


Jackie Ashenden said...

Ack, that's SUCH a bummer, Rach! I really feel for you. That ole EC is torture eh?
But on the bright side, you can submit direct to Lucy and now you know what you have to do to make it work. Not knowing why you didn't make the cut would be even worse because then you can't fix it!
And to be honest, even if they did want you to revise it with stronger conflict, I wouldn't recommend it. In many ways, having sweated blood and tears retro-fitting my current ms with decent conflict, I can't help thinking I should have just submitted a new idea. Would have made things so much easier!

Anyway, will stop wittering. Good luck with your new wips. They definitely owe you a consultation hmmm? Oh and I am DYING to read your chapter! We should start a petition!

Lucy said...

Oh no, that's c**p, Rach. But it sounds like you've got the voice that MH wants - and that's something you either have or you don't have. Upping the emotional conflict ante is something you can learn. (I think.)

Good luck with the proposals :)

B.H. Dark said...

Emotional conflict can definitely be learned. My first few rejections said I didn't quite have it.

I learned by doing the excellent things that Lucy and Jackie are blogging about doing...asking WHY over, and over, and over. And making sure that the conflict at the beginning of the book only got worse as the story went on. I pretty much eliminated all external conflict in my first few M&Bs, just so I could focus on the emotion, and only got brave enough to add some in later books.

Kate Walker's 12-Point Guide has some good tips. I dissected lots of M&Bs to look at emotion, too.

That's an awesome rejection though and I think you definitely should ask for your phone consultation!

And thank you for the lemonade. :-)

B.H., aka Julie Cohen

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks so much Sami, Christina, Jackie, Lucy and Julie - you guys are LOVELY!!!

Jackie - you are so right... I was kind of daunted by the prospect that they'd ask me to revise! Although hopefully I'll get to that stage one day :) We can't all be brilliant like Lucy - hey?!

Julie - interesting point you make about external conflict! I'll remember that in my planning!

Lorraine said...

Really sorry to hear your news Rach.

I can't believe you haven't had your phone consultation yet. Sounds like a good plan to use it to sound out your next project.

I'm with Jackie - we should start a petition to read your chapter. I love your blog so I'm looking forward to actually reading some of your writing.

I was lucky enough to share Jackie's lightbulb moment about internal conflict and agree it's much easier to start afresh than to try to retro fit!

At least you're getting a direct line in for your next sub.

The Dribbler said...

I'm so sorry about this, Rach. WWMM is a wonderful book.

And you're still a FABULOUS writier.

mulberry said...

So sorry to hear this Rach, it sucks! Still hoping we get to read your chapter...

Eleni Konstantine said...

Sorry to hear the bad news Rach. But good news is they enjoy your voice. May the phone consult bring forth more opportunities for you!! :)

Rachael Johns said...

Thanks heaps Lorraine, Cath, Mulberry and Eleni! Still no news on my chapter... but I'll be sure to let you all know :)