Last Sunday evening, just when I was settled on the couch to catch up on an episode of The Killing on Netflix, I foolishly checked my email again and got a rejection from an agent who had my full MS.

He said that while my writing was impressive (impressive!), my book was “too quiet” and then, to emphasize one more time, that the story “just was too slow” to sell (boo!).

Wah!

Too quiet! I had heard that phrase a few times with the two other manuscripts I queried before this one. I don’t know — I like quiet books. I like to get to know the characters slowly, to be pulled into their minds and their lives. I like to feel their transformations — I like their realizations to become mine, but gradually. I do not want to read a book and be hit over the head with anything. I especially don’t want to be told how I should feel, and why. I want to read and then have the realization dawn upon me — all on its own — that I really care about these characters, and even if I don’t always like each and every one of them as people, I want to know what happens to them because they’ve made a mark on me, in some way or the other.

I also completely disagree with the notion that teens can’t or won’t enjoy a “quiet” book. That all they want is action, love/sex, action, more love/sex, action and that everything has to zoom along in the narrative because the average teen’s attention span is so short and it’s time to get to the most amazing, most utterly exciting part ever before they put the book down and get back on Instagram! When I think back to the books I enjoyed, they are the types of books I hope I write. After all, that old and wise advice about writing what you know, and writing what you like, is 100% sound, I think. Maybe, in these days of so many distractions, teens do have trouble staying engaged in books, but I know many real, live, teens who are not that way, so they are obviously still out there, and still reading.

Anyway, that is my rant on quiet books. I will keep on reading them and I will keep on writing them.

 

Advertisements