How long have I been trying to find a home for my work? 8 years. 8 frickin years. Below is a rejection letter I received for Maw of the Defiler. This was the last true ‘feedback’ I received (which led me on the path of building characterization and voice)
May 12th, 1998
There’s no doubt the premises have potential, and I admire your ambition and intent. You’re a good writer, and you certainly have the sensibilities for a high fantasy. Therefore, it is with real regret that I’m passing on these. There is nothing inherently wrong with these, however, I fear the narrative approach didn’t strike an entirely responsive chord here. The excecution didn’t quite appeal as it should. I just never got a good sense of characters. Despite a strong opening (editors note: if only I could sustain those strong openings!), and repeated authorial ‘tellings’ of the conflicts between Luthar and Toris, the conflicts are not substantiated by the characters themselves. Part of the problem lies in telling and not showing the reader. We never get inside the minds and hearts of the protagonists, and when we do, they’re usually so self-focused, especially Luthar’s self-righteousness and personal prejudices, it’s difficult to see them as real people. Although both Toris and Luthar are champions of Purity against Corruption, I didn’t get a clear idea of what both men believe in, what they feared, how their feeling about each other and people aroudn them cahnge through their experience. If anything, I wasn’t entriely clear as to what this world is, who are these people, and why they’re invading or spying on each other.