It's come down to this. I'm questioning whether my most recent mid-grade story is broken. I've had some agent rejections who loved the story idea but still passed. So this makes me wonder, is it the story??
Ah, the eternal conundrum with rejections. And with very little to go by, how can we possibly find enlightenment? So is it the agent's taste? Or is it that the story is lacking in some way? My sample pages were enough to garner some interest, but still no one has wanted to take it on.
And I have to consider something may be broken.
Here are some questions I'm going to ask while I revise, yet again, and these were taken from Blake Snyder's Save the Cat. I can't recommend this book enough.
FIXING WHAT'S BROKEN:
1. Does the hero lead the action? Is he/she proactive at every stage of the game and fired up by a desire or goal?
2. Do characters "talk the plot"? Or am I letting it be seen through action?
3. Is the bad guy bad enough? Does he offer the hero the right kind of challenge?
4. Does the plot move faster and grow more intense after the midpoint? Is more revealed about the hero and bad guy coming into the Act 3 finale?
5. Is the story one-note emotionally? All drama? All sadness? All frustration? Does it feel like it needs, but doesn't offer, emotion breaks?
6. Is the dialog flat? Does everyone talk the same? Can I tell one character from another by the way he speaks?
7. Do minor characters stand out from each other? Are they easy to differentiate by how they look in your mind's eye? Is each unique in speech, manner, and look?
8. Does the hero's journey start as far back as it can go? Am I seeing the entire length of emotional growth of the hero in the story?
9. Is the story primal? Are the characters, at their core, reaching out for a primal desire? To be loved, to survive, to protect, for revenge?
Hopefully, these questions will help you if you're feeling your story may be broken. Over these next couple of weeks I'll be working on mine. I won't be posting during that time, because I want to give it my undivided attention and since that's pretty much impossible, I'm cutting out a huge time-suck, which happens to be blog posts.
Don't get me wrong, I love it and I love you, but something has to give. I'll still be hopping around to visit yours. I hope to finish up some beta reading too, since one of my treasured CPs has been so amazingly patient with me during my house move and inability to finish beta reading for her. Do y'all know Kathryn Sheridan Kupanoff? If not, hope over to Everything Boho and say hello. She's awesome. :)
I'll be back in a couple of weeks, and hopefully with some great pics of my Halloween costume. Two of my book club girls throw a ladies only Witch's Ball every year with a costume theme. This year the theme is black and white. I hope you'll check back to see what black and white costume I came up with. :)
How do you feel about fixing what's broken in your story? Do you find it easy to determine what's broken? Or do you, like me, toil over it and pull out your hair?