Well, it's official. My novel, which took me three years to write and an additional three years to edit, has been rejected. No, not just rejected. Rejected soundly. I really never anticipated this day. I thought for sure it was destined for the NY Times Bestseller's List. Alas, it is not to be.
Longtime readers of The Shark Tank will not be surprised to learn that I've spent much of my adult life writing an intricate romance novel. While I put my heart and soul into the book, the editor at Harlequin was unimpressed. I've read the rejection letter nearly forty times now, and I get angrier with each pass. What do they want out of me? Here, read the letter and see what you think:
Ignoring for a moment the unnecessary vitriol, let's just take the points she makes in the second paragraph. She says my novel needs improvement in description, character development, dialogue and she apparently thinks the love scenes are horrible as well. I have to admit, after reading the letter, I began to have internal doubts. I went back and read my manuscript, thinking that freshly opened eyes would see the work differently. If anything, however, I thought the book was even stronger than I remembered. But I have to take into consideration my possible bias. That's why I'm turning to you, faithful readers. I encourage you to tell me the truth. I've posted excerpts from my book, each of them demonstrating the aspects of fiction Judith Esterman seems to think need so much improvement. Read them, form your own opinion, and let me know what you think.
Description: From Page 38
Eddie thought she was the picture of loveliness as she stepped out onto the balcony. She was wearing a dress that was almost the exact color green of his poop when he'd spent the last several days drinking grape NeHi. Her hair was a mixture of gold and silver and copper, all flowing at once like a mineshaft had exploded, except there was no sign of a dead canary. Her chin was restful and deep, like the thoughts of wise men from centuries past. He wanted to examine her more closely, smell her, see if there were any small bits of orange ear wax on her inner lobe.
Character Development: From Page 99
From the moment Gretchen met him, she knew he would be trouble. Though she had no way of knowing this, she suspected he had been involved in terrorism in his youth. Perhaps he had been born to Al-Qaeda parents, living on the east end of New York City. Maybe his father was called Abdul Shariik and his mother had been a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. All of these things, actually, she guessed correctly, as these were all true facts from his life and he was as evil as they come.
Dialogue: From Page 145
"Do you think our love will last forever?" asked Gretchen.
"It will last as long as the days, and even longer," said Eddie.
"Like 24 hours?" asked Gretchen.
"No, I meant like the end of time. So very long. You see, I was speaking metaphorically. Do you want some fish?"
Gretchen thought a moment. "Why couldn't you have just said, 'yes'? No I don't want any fucking fish, do I look like a Chinaman?"
"omg, you idiot, I meant to eat," Eddie said, running out of patience.
"Oh," she said, "then I guess so."
Love Scene: Page 390
They exchanged a knowing glance when they both reached for the last shrimp at the same time. He picked up the shrimp and dangled it above her wanting mouth. Gently caressed her cheek with the jumbo crustacean. She bit at it once, twice, and finally got it on the third try. Butter squirted out and stained Eddie's jeans.
"I guess I'll have to take these off," he murmured.
"Oooh, yes," she said, in between chewing her shrimp.
He took off his jeans and his underwear and approached her with his growing ding dong.
"Let me get the fly swatter," she said, and ran for the utility room. He sat down on the couch and waited, wondering idly if that guy he saw on the train that morning had really been his father. But no, his father had died many years before. It must have been an imposter.
"I'm baaack," Gretchen said. She had a fly swatter in her right hand and she had removed all of her clothing.
"You're naked," he said, giggling to himself.
"That's right," she said and smacked his wiener with the fly swatter until the local news came on.
Maybe I'll try sending it in to Simon & Schuster.