Monday, November 26, 2007

Spend Time In Company?

STATUS: It’s hard to get back into the swing of things. This long weekend just has me looking forward to next month’s big holiday break!

What’s playing on the iPod right now? I FEEL THE SAME by Bonnie Raitt

I had an interesting thought over the weekend. Just one though. Kidding. I had read a sample pages submission right before leaving for vacation and I have to say that the work kind of stayed with me.

That’s usually a good sign. If I find myself thinking about a manuscript, then I know it’s caught my interest. But this time I was thinking about those sample pages for a different reason. You see, I just loved the writing. I thought the author was top-notch but I ended up passing on seeing the full novel.

Sounds crazy until I explain a bit about why. When I’m torn about a request, I’ll often try and articulate aloud why something isn’t a clear “yes” for me.

For this project, I ended up asking myself this one question: I’m going to devote hours to reading this novel and do I really want to spend time in this main character’s company?

The answer ended up being “no” which is why I passed.

So then that got me thinking. There are different reasons to want to spend time in a character’s company and it doesn’t always mean that the main character has to be likable or nice. The character could be darkly fascinating (DARKLY DREAMING DEXTER comes to mind). It can be something I can’t articulate but draws me into the story (like the character is quirky, self-destructing, yet perversely likable). Maybe I adore the character and can’t wait to see what unfolds. I could answer this question in a dozen different ways.

But when I find myself liking the writing but finding that I’m not all that engaged in the main protagonist, there’s no way to “fix” that—and ultimately it’s probably something that shouldn’t be fixed because it might end up being another agent’s perfect cup of tea.

Does that make sense?