After having a dozen novels published by New York houses, I should know better than to make this mistake. But it just happened to me.
I have a New York editor for my young adult fiction. He and I had talked about a certain “hook” for boy readers, a story idea that I brought up in passing but that he seized upon. He loved it! He brought it up several times in subsequent conversations. An editor’s interest is no small matter. Since this would be short novel with a very timely subject matter , I figured I could knock it off in a hurry. It would be a slam dunk for a book contract.
I managed to get a tight draft done in just under two months, which is fast for me. I sent it off with high expectations. Turns out he didn’t like one thing about it. “Implausible plot, protagonist in search a character, etc.” Nothing about it worked for him.
This likely happened because I was buzzed by his expectations as opposed to my own. Because I wasn’t fully sincere about the story, my “falseness” showed through.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once observed that some of his novels were “true, and some were fake.” This makes all the sense in the world if you’re a real writer. Or rather, a “true” writer.
P.S. The little red and white bird-like thing in the green square? That’s a winter, ice-house spearing decoy, hand-made by yours truly. It’s hanging down four feet or so in the water; the bigger frame is ice. See the spear in the far corner? I’m waiting for pike to come by, which, with luck, I can bag for a supper. So why this picture? Because it’s my story. Winter spearing is a tradition I grew up with, one I know, and one I can write with authority.