Perspective & Cereal Prizes

Still working on getting my novel WE, THE WATCHED in the hands of literary agents. I’ve had two bites on my query letter so far. One of them asked me to physically mail the first 75 pages of my manuscript. It’s in their hands now, but I’m not expecting a reply for another few weeks. It’s kind of like mailing box tops to Kellogg’s cereal to get a prize — most agents take 6-8 weeks to get back to you.

The second bite, if you were wondering, didn’t work out. The agent asked to read the first two chapters, but a few weeks later e-mailed me to say he wasn’t enthusiastic about the first-person narrative. Even though it hurts to get a rejection, I was glad to get some constructive criticism. If you haven’t taken a look at it already, my book is written in first-person present tense. That’s not exactly the most traditional style, especially for a first novel. I liked how it turned out, and peers have told me they did as well, but I can see how it might be a bit polarizing at first.

As it turns out, I’m going with a more traditional third-person past tense in the new novel I’m working on. One of the things I want to do as an author is explore a variety of different narrative styles. I actually have quite a bit of fun figuring out how best to convey plot within different writing structures. While first-person present was a great way to explore what the protagonist was thinking, the third-person style has allowed me to incorporate other characters’ perspectives and jump around a little more in the story’s time line.

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