Whoops, it looks like the last month has stretched out a few weeks. The biggest news is that I got married, so I figure I can get a little leeway. ;) I also got all moved in, so that made the days go by faster than I expected. It wasn't the new Xbox 360. Really.
Anyway, on to the writing update. I got some great rejections from two agents. They both declined to take on A Clockwork Murder citing that they thought the market was saturated with D&D/quest style stories, but, they both had encouraging words about my writing skills. And they send personal letters, not photocopies of form letters.
First the praise. One called me a "promising writer". Normally I'd think this was a throwaway comment, but I've heard that agents refuse to say anything slightly encouraging unless they really mean it. Apparently some writers don't take rejection well, and they latch on to any comment and use it as an excuse to keep bugging the agent. So, if they say it, I'm going to believe it.
The other one said: "Your voice is very good - entertaining and fast-paced. The almost metrosexual gnome is an interesting construction." Wow. The books I've read all say that a unique voice is one of the hardest things to do, and one of the most important. If you have a good voice, they go on to say, you are gold. Everything else can be fixed.
Second the rejection. Since they both referred to it as a typical quest story, I think I've misrepresented ACM in my query letter and first five pages. I'm rewriting the letter, and I'm testing out the story with it starting at Chapter Two (Zook finding the corpse at the feet of the prototype clockwork). I won't change the story in any fundamental way, but I'll market it more as a mystery set in a techno-fantasy world. It's all how you spin it, baby.
So, all in all, it was a great month and a half. I've mostly been reading my friends's novels for critiquing, but I did read one published work. It is The Skewed Throne by Joshua Palmatier. I met Joshua at Writers Weekend and got an autographed copy. It is a fantasy, part one of three, but it wasn't ye olde fantasy that I can't read anymore. The story is 1st person, so no cast of thousands, and the fate of the world doesn't hang in the balance. Well, at least not in book one. In some ways it reminds me of Across the Nightengale Floor ; a little non-traditional magic, assassin character, and a personal story (so I actually care about the main character). You should go out and get a copy.
Talk to you in a few weeks. ;)
ps, we just had an earthquake, but just a slight shaking up here.