Surprise surprise - the first point Lucy Gilmour made about why they rejected The Who's Who of Matt McKinnell was EMOTIONAL CONFLICT, particularly the actions and motivations of Libby, my heroine.
Lucy pointed out that a strong emotional conflict needs developed, investigated and worked through for hero and heroine to finally be together happily ever after. In my story, the conflict was more external than emotional. Her career ambition and drive to write a story about him and he's resolve to not let anyone write anything deep about him, was what was providing the conflict. This wasn't personal enough!
I did actually give these two lovely people personal hassles - Libby has self-esteem issues and thought she couldn't have children and Matt has just found out he is not his father's child, but neither of these issues were developed enough to keep the hero and heroine from a) getting it on and b) staying together.
Apparently Libby's infertility issue is a FABULOUS conflict but I didn't use it to great effect. In the story she became pregnant really easily which kinda lessened the effect. It would have been a lot better also if I'd had her deal with this issue earlier on.
I had three majorly strong potential conflicts - adoption, illegitimacy and infertility but didn't use any of them with any real effect because I didn't link them enough to the developing romance.
Conflict was the major reason for this rejection and it seems to be a frequent reason for rejection. What I've learnt and will hopefully be able to implement in future mss is to DIG DEEP!!! Ask why questions until you're driving yourself insane! Be a three year old - WHY? WHY? BUT WHY? And make sure the conflicts really cause problems for the relationship!
Come back tomorrow (or the next day, depends what kind of kid-day tomorrow turns out to be) and I'll tell you the other reason why they rejected my mss!!