I received my very first response to my first agent query last night. I was at the game shop, waiting for the lads to finish things up so I could coerce them into playing Lord of the Rings with me. As we all know, orcs must die. A decklist was waiting in my inbox so I took out my phone to dig up the list and get the deck together, as one does, and there was a reply from that query I'd sent a few weeks ago. Oh my, was all I could think. It was, naturally, a pass, but the agent in question was very kind and encouraging, saying,
"While I am impressed by your creativity, I regret to say that I did not fall in love with the story in the way that I needed to in order to take it on. As you know, these decisions are largely subjective and another agent or editor may have an opinion completely different from mine."Of course the temptation is to take this as agent-speak for, 'you're yet another submission in the great slag heap of endless submissions', but it's just not. It may even be a standard reply but it's a very nice one and I expressed my appreciation for this agent's time and consideration and honest answer.
The upshot, however, is that I I returned my phone to my pocket after reading the email with a curious feeling; it wasn't sleepy or hungry or even thirsty. It was more like relief. The bullet I was expecting to explode my chest cavity turned out to be imaginary, the car crash more like a sharp, skidding turn. I'd survived.
The inclination would be to go back to the drawing board, rewrite the first few chapters to include more action and less exposition, zazz it up in an attempt to catch the eye of as many interested parties as possible. But I think Homes can stand on its own. It feels complete, albeit imperfect, and for me to try shoring it up to whatever quality I think some agent somewhere might like toes the line of betrayal. A time may come where I scrap the damn thing or rewrite it altogether, but for now I am going to keep shooting in the dark and progressing on the little novel I started this summer. It feels good.