Wednesday, 4 April 2012

D Is For Determination

de·ter·mi·na·tion  (d-tûrm-nshn)
a. Firmness of purpose; resolve: approached the task with determination and energy.
b. A fixed intention or resolution: returned to school with a determination to finish.

I want to share an email I got from a CB who is now a literary agent at a very prominent agency.

This was for the very first novel I ever wrote. The email is dated November of 2008.


I have some reservations about your MS and wasn't able to get past chapter 6, unfortunately. Most of it comes down to basic writing rules, flow, word choice, things that I think are more of a language fluency and language barrier issue than anything else. For me, though, the blatant technical errors here distract from the story to such a degree that I found it absolutely mortifying to stick with and, after 6 chapters, an obstacle that I refused  to overcome in order to keep reading. 

A prime example is the stupid question you asked me... is my novel written in omniscient? No, that is the "all seeing" person. My novel is written in close third. That kind of understanding is taught in Middle School and you should not write without that kind of knowledge.

Attached are my annotated notes for the first 80 pages or so, but I will not continue. Sorry! You seem like a very nice and ambitious person but maybe you should give writing a rest and pursue other things? I don't mean to be harsh,  but you said to be honest so I'm doing what you asked. 

I don't expect you to finish my MS or send notes, and I completely understand. And someone else may feel differently. Good luck with Mr. Malk, that's very exciting!


Maybe I should query this CB to show that I'm still writing? And that I've improved exponentially, too! LOL.

All jokes aside, If I'd listened to this person, I would not be writing today. Whenever someone puts you down, never listen. If in your heart you know this is meant to be, then all you have to do is keep doing what you do best and eventually your dreams will come true.

Determination conquers all doubt.


Kyra Lennon said...

I kind of admired the honesty, until they said you should pursue other things. That is just blatantly mean. Telling someone to give up on their dream is not okay. Good on you for sticking with it!

T.D. McFrost said...

I didn't mind either. But what you found upsetting is not what tripped me off; it was the language barrier thing that saddened me.

I speak and write English perfectly fine, thank you very much! What this person found to be a language issue was my attempt at capturing the dialogue of a Jamaican. I did it badly, I admit, but this person should have known that dialogue doesn't represent my ability to write English, if, in fact, the narration is perfectly fine.

Geesh, a little common sense would've been nice. But, as usual, I bit my tongue and said thank you.

FYI, I critiqued their entire novel even after receiving that email.

Elise Fallson said...

Determination. Exactly what I needed to read this morning. And I'm so glad you have kept on writing.
Also, I love the picture you put up. Though I must admit, as I scrolled down, I first thought it would be a dung beetle. ;P

T.D. McFrost said...

LOL. A dung beetle? Oh, 'cause the man is pushing the thing that looks like...AHAHA!

Danielle B. said...

Determination is popular today and love everyone individual story behind it. Great post!

Misha Gericke said...

Ugh. It really annoys me that people think it's all right to try to convince people not to right.

Sure, it's fine to point out a lack of knowledge. Highlight things that the writer needs to learn first.

But you don't ever tell someone to stop writing.

farawayeyes said...

Excellent post. Thanks for the reminder. I'm very determined, some say stubborn. Whatever. Go with your gut and believe in yourself.

PLEASE, remind me of that about every six weeks or so.

Cassie Mae said...

Okay, so like, I get the whole being honest thing, but holy crap, I want to kinda pummel this person. There's honesty and then there's brutality. And since I'm protective of my bloggy pals, really... *shakes fist*

I'm glad you didn't listen. That you took what they had to say and applied it effectively to help you grow. I guess that's the positive thing that happens when we receive feedback like this.

S. L. Hennessy said...

Wow that was kind of a harsh response. Glad to see you didn't let that stop you. Improving is always good, but quitting never is. Excellent post.

DEZMOND said...

what? You mean D is not for Dezzy, the Hollywood Spy? Scandal, utter scandal!

McKenzie McCann said...

Oh my gosh, that's a very harsh letter. o.O

Sarah Pearson said...

Wow. There were some good points here, (I assume, since I didn't read that ms), but did it need to be wrapped in such offence?

T.D. McFrost said...

Well, I guess being mean makes some folks feel all nice and cozy.

I could care less about the nasty things people say to/about me. I will keep doing me.

Jeremy Bates said...

That was outright mean and nasty of her. She could have easily left out the pursue other things comment. Who the hell is she (or anyone else for that matter) to advise on ones career path?

T.D. McFrost said...

This person is a literary agent. Now they can be mean at a whole new level. :D

Anonymous said...

That was a horrible letter. I'm glad you continued writing.

I received a few harsh letters in the past. I think it's very unfair for people to dissuade others from pursuing a passion. Any rational person knows that with time and practice people make improvements.

T.D. McFrost said...

That is exactly right Medeia!

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