So day before yesterday I heard back from the agent who had my manuscript and she said that she got about halfway through it and decided the setting wasn’t convincing and that the character of Iz was too static, i.e., he did not transform fast enough. One of the regular readers and cheerers-on of my other novels also gave the same critique. From a previous posting, you know that I was almost anticipating rejection and knowing that a rejection from this particular person would hurt more.
Some of her suggestions I can work with to improve the manuscript. I’m not sure about Iz, though, because I happen to know that there are some men who can be basically kind-hearted and heroic and know that their infidelities cause a lot of pain but still keep cheating on the women who love them. When I was walking yesterday in botanical gardens at UCLA while my friend was at a dental appt. I thought about a way I could bring transformed Iz from the future back into the place in the novel just before he has the affair with Zeinab/Dolores. But then I thought, am I doing that just to make people I like more ideologically comfortable? Does that “cheat” the transformation at the the end?
This is where I could really use a writing mentor. I asked for one on She Writes yesterday, and got some sympathetic responses, but no takers (because there really was no Marilynne Robinson or Chaim Potok among them.) Rebecca Forster, who writes legal thrillers noted that she bases her books on real cases but that sometimes she has step back and make sure she isn’t following them too closely because they become plodding if she does. I actually think my book doesn’t follow Hosea that closely. I’m sure Hebrew Bible scholars won’t think so! There’s as much if not more Amos in her climatic speech at the President Coulter campaign rally as there is Hosea. But anyway, I’m going to try inserting a section from future Iz today and hope for a mentor.
The good news is that I based on reading someone else’s experience on She Writes, I offered Because the Angels as a free download for five days, and the day after the rejection, I found out that it was the #1 top free download in the political fiction genre and #31 in literary fiction–and most of the ones in the literary fiction category were public domain novels like Moby Dick and Wuthering Heights. I spent most of the day sending out tweets and posting on Facebook pages. It slipped down to #3 yesterday, but was back up to # 1 today, and it was featured on the Progressive Christian Kindle. Now, that’s only 259 total downloads, I found out, but it will be interesting to see if something comes of it–reviews, for example.