"It's deja vu all over again!"---Yogi Berra
For those of you who have been with me for quite a while, you know that I hit paydirt after a baker's dozen of queries and two wickedly intense re-writes that spurred on by "an almost but not quite there yet" rejection/invite to resubmit from my current publisher.
Well my friends, as the quote up above says, it is indeed deja vu all over again.
My publisher was one of the companies that I had queried in the first wave for my novella, "A Shadow Warrior's Redemption", with the query being sent on the last day of February. Almost two months later (a very decent turnaround), I received a response. And just like the query for Line 21, the response for ASWR was exactly the same: "almost but not quite there yet" with an invite to resubmit.
The issues with the particular novella are radically different from the first: to whit, here is what the editor had to say (who I respect immeasurably):
"I'm ambivalent-there's a lot to like, and the synopsis worked fine for me. But I felt that the first few pages were confusing to the reader, and this isn't helped by the switches in tense. Also, maybe the title is a bit a giveaway?? It's close. I'd also wonder about using the name Ashanti (singer/songwriter of the same name might not like it?). And I don't know what is to be gained by referring her initially for many pages as 'the young lady' instead of using her name".
They finish up to say that after I get the following issues fixed: tense issues, ensure that the visuals are clear on the body switch and I review the MC name, I should re-submit to their paranormal line called "Solstice Shadow".
So the good news is that the novella has fixable issues and an offer to resubmit.
The fixable issues are:
1} Tenses: I rewrote this in first person/present tense, so maybe I have too much head hopping?
2} Name change for MC: difficult, but doable.
3} Title change: extremely difficult but necessary. I've done about five title changes already, so I'll have to bang my head against the wall for number six.
4} Clear visuals on the body switch: this is uncharted territory, so I'll be open for advice on this one.
There is a fifth, but that is tied in to bullet point #2.
So there you have it boys and girls, children of all ages. Once again, I'm three queries of the way through to fullifilling my 2013 New Year's resolution of getting at least one story published per year.
Update: I had originally wrote this post about three weeks ago. Since then, all of the bullet points have been fixed. As expected, number three took me the longest and I finally came up with not one, but two viable candidates: "Shadow Vengeance" and "Shadow Justice". Both of these titles were directly inspired by this poem written by my writer friend Charles Gramlich on his blog RAZORED ZEN.
I now have an issue that I need your advice on. To tie these potential titles into the story better, I've been toying with the idea of changing (again) the name of MC from Alexi to Shadow. In turn, this will allow me to add the 's and create a more personal/tighter connection to the story.
Also, I would like your opinion on which title I should use. Please give me your choice on which title I should use and whether or not I should tweak the character name to fit the title.
And...to make it more interesting, I will be giving away a free print copy of my debut novel to a random commenter on this blog (I'll be doing this on Facebook as well). Drawing to be held at the end of the week.