Today I am going to share a copy of a rejection letter that I received for my first novel Come As You Are. I have removed the publisher/editor information. Although this rejection is a little harsh, I was able to learn how to improve my writing, and I hope you will find it helpful as well.
I have read COME AS YOU ARE and am sorry that I must pass on this project.
We have saying in romance, SHOW, don't TELL. Much of Mary's story is told to the reader, which distances them from getting to know the characters. By showing us Mary's feelings and emotions, the reader can identify with her character more and learn to love her, which makes them want to read more and more of her story. Reader's are escorted through Mary's day from start to finish, without any development of the relationship between the hero and heroine.
Mary also comes across as passive, in allowing others to tell her what she is feeling and only wanting to please Paul. A heroine is just that - heroic. She should be more proactive in her own life, expecting much of herself and others. She has not given any clue what she wants from life. Her life revolves around attracting Paul, up to and including changing her body type in case that is what is so displeasing to him (although he's not said anything). The reader is invited into Mary's quest to capture Paul with details on how she plans to take on a new diet and exactly what food she can eat.
There are issues with points-of-view. I realize that many modern writers head-hop in their novels, but I am an editor who prefers one POV per chapter. It allows the reader to get to know the character very well.
The secondary characters, unless they are important to the developing relationship, do not need to be mentioned by name. I was confused as to why Mary was attending a Singles church meeting, when she is in a committed relationship. Unless Paul goes, too? However, she doesn't go with Paul, nor is there a mention that Paul will be there. I would expect them to attend together, if at all. During her thoughts, the reader is informed of all Mary's good ideas concerning what the Singles plan to do...yet nothing about Paul, who is her almost-fiance.
If Steven is the hero, the story should being there. There is no need to go into Mary's past history with Paul. Romance is about the developing relationship between two people who will eventually work their way to a Happy Ever After. There is no need to tell the stories of the people in their past, except as a paragraph, at most.
Although I was quite disappointed when I received this, I can honestly say I have grown quite a bit from the process. How about you reader? Are you letting rejection hold you back, or are you learning from it and moving forward?