I just got this e-mail from my dear agent:
Two more responses:
Thanks so much for sharing THE CLEARING by Anne C. Riley with me — it was great to get this from you. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding Liam and the clearing, and there were some funny moments here. But ultimately I just didn’t find the plot as absorbing as I’d hoped — I kept wishing more fun paranormal stuff would happen. It’s with sincere regret I’m stepping aside.
Thanks so much for sending THE CLEARING. It was fun to consider this for Greenwillow, but unfortunately, I’m declining with regret. As cool as the concept is, I’m afraid I just wasn’t swept away by the world and characters. The catty boarding school setting was great, but I wasn’t convinced by the supernatural aspects of the manuscript — for me, it didn’t have that eerie, super atmospheric feeling that I think is a must these paranormal(ish) novels. I found myself somewhat skeptical of Natalie’s romances, too. How does the connection with Liam form so quickly? And would Natalie really fall for Ethan so easily, too, after months of torment? There didn’t seem to be enough depth to her feelings for either of them; she told us more than she showed us. But thanks again, and I’m sure you’ll find the right editor for this one.
We still have a bunch to hear from, but I’m seeing some common threads in these responses:
1. That Natalie could be a more complex character – that she could have more depth so that the readers have a real connection with her and want to care about what happens to her.
2. That the supernatural elements could be turned up a notch.
At this point I think it’s best to address these concerns with a revision before I send THE CLEARING out to another group of editors. What do you think?
I’m happy to talk further next week. Let me know!
This really is what most of the editors have been saying, and it’s where my lack of attention to detail is coming back to bite me: I think I expect the reader to just understand whatever emotions my characters are feeling, and I don’t do a good enough job of showing it.
I wrote her back and told her about this new book I’m writing – the one that has nothing to do with The Clearing at all. It’s the one that I’m drawing a lot from my past as I write it, which is a frightening concept. I’m sort of keen on the idea of taking a break from The Clearing and trying to get this new one out there, because I’ve got all kinds of momentum going on it right now and I expect to be done with it by the end of October at the latest. Then, maybe while it’s out with editors, I could come back to The Clearing and really give it the attention it deserves. I don’t know… we’ll see what she says.
Keep me in your thoughts and prayers!