Dear Ms. Brokaw,
Thank you for contacting me in regards to IMAGINE. I see much merit in your project's premise, but unfortunately I did not love the execution of your plot as much as I had hoped.
Please feel free to contact me with future projects should you elect to move on to something else.
So... Yeah, I hereby officially reject my own novel. But it could be worse. I mean, it's not a complete form letter, I at least pasted my title in along with my name and gave a hint about why I'm passing. And I did tell myself to contact me again with other work, that's promising...
I'm unwilling to say writing Imagine was a complete waste of effort, but I don't love the story enough to continue working with it. Which is somewhat sad as I've been wanting a do a story with a pooka for a very long time. Maybe one day I'll lift Seeley out of this story and drop him into another one. (Yes, yes, voice of Seeley in my head, I'll take Cia too. Sheesh. I'll just rework her circumstances and give you a better storyline.)
This story illustrated a few problems about me and my writing. Or my writing as evidenced by this work, anyway.
1. I don't handle ensembles well. At least, I lack confidence in my ability to handle them. People get lost too easily. I literally had people dropping out of the party at random, then I had to go find them, then I wondered why they were around at all since I obviously didn't really need them. I think I can usually handle books with a lot of people in them, but I can't handle scenes with a lot of people in them. So having a lot of people who decide to go on quest together probably isn't something I should do.
2. My characters tend to be a bit too open too soon with one another. This makes for less tension than there could be.
3. My leads don't seem to have much connection to anyone other than each other. Sure, I'll put in a best friend and an entire family, but they all get forgotten really easily. On one hand, this is slightly true to life when love is new, so it makes sense in a romance and especially in romances involving teens, who are notorious for ignoring their families under regular circumstances. On the other hand, the other people in your life don't vanish just because someone new becomes important to you, no matter how obsessed you are.
4. When magic is involved, I have a tendency to make characters too powerful. It wasn't just that Cia could do too much, it was that she didn't have to work at it. Once she knew she could do something, all she had to do was concentrate on doing it. There's no reason I can't write a book about an all-powerful goddess, but she needs to be up against other freakishly powerful deities. And even then, it's not that much fun.
I'm happy to say I don't think any of these things are true of Shadow. I'm thinking they're not even true of Werestory. My other stories have at least one of these issues in each of them though and they're things that really could be avoided at the outline stage now that I'm more aware of them.
Speaking of outlines, I'm working on re-outling both my sorcery tale and my dragon story. Not sure which I'll seriously start working on again first, but I'm hopeful for both of them.