“Your story didn’t pull me in.”
“I didn’t feel connected to the main character.”
Or (the worst),
“It’s just not for us.”
What does that mean?!
It feels like a cryptic message that I am supposed to decode and I don't have the decoder ring.
I'm sorry, I know that this is taboo (writers criticizing other writer's work) but I have read the most horrible short stories recently and I am frustrated. Not only that, but books are equally frustrating to read lately.I'm not sure what is going on out there in the publishing world but I have found many type O's in books published by the major publishing giants. And, I've read books that defy all the "rules" that I am trying so desperately to follow.
Back in the spring, I had an agent slam me because I used the word "anyways". She went on and on about how that word is not something a "real" writer would use because a "real" writer knows that anyways isn't a "real" word. Funny, because the very next week, I read a novel by a very well-known and
successful writer that had the word "anyways" peppered throughout it! Every time I saw the word, I wanted to copy the pages and send them to the agent that
Recently, I have read shorts that are so bloody awful and yet are in print while mine are being constantly rejected. Some of these "stories"aren’t stories at all but musings. Here I am trying so hard to flush out my plots and develop my characters and someone writes an entire piece on things that are lost, in a list form and calls that a "story." WORSE….someone published it! It “drew” someone in! I just don't get it.
I know, I sound bitter and jaded. I suppose I am but most of all I’m frustrated because all of these damn rules have killed my mojo. I am so stressed out that I can’t even write anymore. Let alone the fact that reading has also become stressful because I am too busy finding the mistakes.
I need to get my mojo back. And, my love of reading.
I understand that an editor or an agent has to “connect“with something if they are going to represent it but when rejecting a writer because of that lack of connection it would be helpful if the writer knew why. Heck, it would help if you knew why. You (agent/editor) aren’t connecting with a story because the writer (me) didn’t set up the plot correctly.
If an agent or an editor simply said, your plot is non-existent or even, your plot needs work it would be so helpful!
You could say something like: "Hey writer person. Your story stinks because your plot stinks! Do you even have a plot? Can you list your plot elements?"
We writers can work with that!
I think plot is theme’s evil step-brother that no one likes to talk about. Why is everyone so afraid to talk about PLOT? I think it's because even agents and editor's don't really understand plot either.
I've read all sorts of books, articles, and blogs about plot and I find it about as easy to grasp as calculus. Then, I had a revelation. When I was in college and taking calculus for the, ahem, second time everything finally clicked and I got an A in the class. What happened was I stopped trying to understand it. When I stopped applying logic to the problem and just "solved" the problem suddenly the world became clear. I simply used the formula and ultimately got the answers right.
I'm hoping that I can apply this to my writing and my understanding of plot. I have a long, hard road ahead of me but knowing that plot is my problem is something I can fix.
Anyways (see what I did there?)…..I will be spending my Thanksgiving break thinking about plot and how I can better develop some of my stories.
Wish me luck!