I heard back from my agent and the news wasn’t good. She won’t try to sell my latest work and gave several reasons as to why.
I really could have a lot to say about most of the reason she gave me – including the suggestion that I join a writing group. This of course means she assumed I don’t already belong to a writing group, AND that my writing group would also have agreed with her comments. This of course I found extremely interesting since almost every single aspect she commented on was directly related to suggestions from my peers in my writing group in the first place!
However, the one reason that completely floored me the most was being told my characters were basically too supportive.
Let me give a little background. The setting for this book is a small rural town. A place where everyone has grown up together, and known each other since they were little kids. A town where people not only knew their neighbors – they liked and respected them as well.
In the story, a young woman’s husband tragically dies and her brother-in-law and friends come together and help her out.
Because of this they are too supportive and therefore this is actually a reason why the book isn’t marketable?
Her exact words were, “Most people just aren't that perceptive and empathic in real life.”
I don’t know where she lives or grew up, but the people I know and love are EXACTLY like that. I could go as far to say if they weren’t like that, I wouldn’t keep them in my life in the first place.
I’m told “the market” wants more conflict.
In current times with so many people unemployed, (unless of course they happen to be bill collectors in which case they have all kinds of work!) losing their homes, wars ripping countries apart, earthquakes devastating islands leaving the death toll in the hundreds of thousands…well really now, don’t we have enough conflict in our everyday lives? When is enough, enough?
I don’t know about you, but I have enough conflict and problems in my life already. I’d like to hear something supporting every now and then. I’d like to know it doesn’t take an entire country being almost shook off the globe, it doesn’t take a hurricane turning a major metropolitan area into a large lake, it doesn’t take airplanes flying into skyscrapers to bring people together to help each other out, especially when those people are your friends and family.
Showing people ARE empathetic and perceptive and supportive – well that’s exactly what everyone in my group wanted to see.
Everyday we are bombarded by bad news – the good news – well it isn’t even considered news. And we wonder why so many people are depressed these days. What do you expect when conflict after conflict after conflict are crammed down their throats? What do people expect when we constantly give attention to the bad and the good gets swept away.
If we aren’t even allowed to have love and support in our recreation time, in the time we take for ourselves to escape from the hell of daily life – how can we be expected to ever be truly happy?
We aren’t supposed to be happy. Heaven forbid. If we were happy we wouldn’t need to buy half the crap advertisers tell us we need to so that we can be happy.
So much of our lives is already based on some type of conflict or another. We are told everyday that we don’t look enough, are teeth aren’t white enough, we don’t wear the right clothes, we don’t drive the right car, we don’t drink the right pop.
Companies make their money by telling us what is wrong with us and then telling us how THEY can fix it. Just turn on your TV and see. Open a magazine or newspaper and look at the ads.
Hasn’t it gone far enough?
I don’t know why we, as a society keep buying into it. Why we keep putting up with it.
I for one am fed up.
I want world peace. I want love, support and comfort in my life and believe me, I’m not going to listen to some multimillion dollar corporation on how to find it. They don’t know me.
No, instead I think I’ll take a walk out in the snow, and stop by the coop to say hello to my chickens on the way.