I can honestly say that line had never been used on me, until this week. An agent who’d asked for a full of my manuscript in June got back to me with the following:
This is a suspenseful, fascinating premise–I love the way the past intertwines with the present in the story. Despite this, I wanted more of an emotional pull from the narrative; I kept finding myself disconnected from the voice. I think the fault here is mine; I think I’m not the right reader or agent for you, I’m sorry to say.
She goes on to use the line I certainly have heard before, which goes something like,
Keep submitting; I’m sure you’ll find an agent very soon.
I dunno. I’m truly grateful for this agent’s time; she read the entire novel and did give feedback. However, it’s so hard to attempt to edit such a large block of writing based on one or two vague sentences (and I know that’s not what she’s suggesting anyway). Time to head back to writing group as soon as the summer travel season is ended.
Meanwhile, I’m reading the latest novel (still in hardback) of a well-known, highly successful author, and am completely underwhelmed. Time and again, basic writing mistakes are made: he’s using passive sentence construction, summarizing instead of showing, and even being redundant. How on earth this is ok, I don’t know: had I submitted a section of this novel to my group, it would have been justifiably pulled to pieces.
In other news, I have a short story being published in the fall issue of First Day Press. Hope you’ll consider getting your hands on that literary journal!