Thursday, July 29, 2010

A Very Interesting Question

Yesterday after my post about the rejection I got on my MS a couple of people asked me if I would consider changing the story based on the feedback. I thought that was really interesting, and something a lot of writers probably have to face.

I thought about it, and it would be possible to change the story to get rid of the animal testing element that he objected to.

However, I don't know if that's the right strategy. I didn't get anything from him stating...if only this weren't set in an animal testing lab, I'd love to represent it. My feeling is that he would pass either way, and this was something he could grab onto that would give him an out, without the dreaded (this is not right for my list).

But if the right agent offered representation contingent on revisions that I felt comfortable with, I'd absolutely do it.

Or if I hear from more than one agent, I really liked this but can't deal with animal testing, then I'll definately change it.

For now though, I'm still hoping for an agent who says, "this animal testing angle really speaks to me." So the journey continues.

But what would you do? Have you ever changed your MS based on the preference of an agent vs the advice of an agent? When would you do this and when would you keep looking?


  1. Yes, I have. I've had full ms's rejected and partials and I'll admit--changing them was hard. Well, actually I only changed one (I am still waiting on the word back from that one). The second one I haven't changed because I don't know how. I waited until two agents told me the exact same thing before I considered it. I've shelved it, hoping my muse will someday bring me the solution. LoL.

    But the first one I changed, I changed based on one publishers feedback. It was a revise and resubmit request. I'm hoping it fairs better the second time around.

    Good luck with yours!


  2. Justine that sounds very promising. If they asked you to revise and resubmit that's a huge step. They must have liked your writing and your ideas.

    I'm sure when you least expect it an idea will present itself to turn your other MS around. And if not, I'm sure you have zillions of other great ideas.

  3. I think it would so much depend on the nature of the revisions. I'm afraid I think of writing-as-an-art-form; my words are my medium, my plot is my message, and mostly I'm not going to contemplate changing my story. On the other hand, I'm happy to hear about specific sections that don't convey what I'm hoping to put across.

  4. I have no problem with revising. It's still my work, my story, but if it means the revision improves it, then yay.

  5. Melissa, I totally agree with the way you're responding. If there's a solid reason to change it, sure, go for it. But if it's a story you love, I wouldn't change it based on one person's whim - even if that person is an agent.

  6. I haven't gotten to that point yet - I hope I can do it when the time comes. It would depend on what it was though, for sure, and how much I could reasonably bear to part with and whether it made the story better.

  7. Thanks for all the great feedback everyone.

  8. You left this comment on a blog: "Oh my. Maybe Jack could get away with that, but for goodness sake get over it."

    I posted this: "I applaud him. Bravo. Why should he follow "the rules" of correctness when the profession has changed and is in some ways provoking this?

    Think Twittergate and SlushPile Hell... and you expect the query senders to meet a different set of standards? Why should he accept rejection gracefully when blogs ridicule the queries that are being rejected?

    His reply and behavior is just a logical extension of the breakdown of the unwritten code of conduct that at one time existed within the profession between the query sender and the receiver of the rejection."

  9. I've considered it. If a change "feels" wrong, I won't, but if it's something that clicks for me, or addresses a nagging worry—I will.

    Remember, the agent isn't the publisher. You can go through rewrite hell and still have an unpublished manuscript.

    Personally, I would rather fail with my true vision, than fail with someone else's.

  10. I think I'm probably too easily swayed to change my manuscript upon request. I've done many re-writes on it, even if I liked the first version. I love the story as it is, but I know that people who have more experience than I could help me improve the manuscript.

    However, if they'd ask me to take out some major plot point, I think I'd protest. Is the animal testing a major factor in your manuscript?

    I think I'd also reply to the agent and ask if he'd be interested if you did some revisions.