Some Thoughts At Fifty — Writing from poetry with a small p.

Stephen McGuinness reflects on turning fifty.

Tiny waves, in circles, Ripple the surface, Fading to shimmers, Melting gently into Each other. I am fifty years old. One half century. Fifty years before My birth World War one raged still. We are but specks, floating On an ocean of time. For fleeting instants We brush our fingers Through still water. I am […]

via Some Thoughts At Fifty — Writing from poetry with a small p.

12 thoughts on “Some Thoughts At Fifty — Writing from poetry with a small p.

      1. I would ask, is it that some agent or publisher hasn’t taken your book on that has you downcast? If your answer is yes, I would ask why? I have seen that people have appreciated and read your book chapters online. Are you happy with it? Why are you revising it? Is it to make it genuinely better, or is it to make it appeal to someone that has rejected it?
        Have a look at the reviews for the winner of the Mann Booker Prize this year. It is called “The Milkman”. It was a struggle for it to be published, rejected for being different, difficult to read. It has divided opinion.
        Your honesty is more important here than an agent or publisher’s opinion, which, let’s face it, comes down to sales not art.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes – it’s all the rejections that have me down. With the exception of the opening, I am very happy with the story. The last agent to actually provide an explanation (most say nothing or don’t respond at all) for rejecting the novel said the opening didn’t “grab her.” So I’ve been looking at ways to make the opening more appealing.
        I think most folks genuinely like the story; among them may be folks who see things they don’t like but remain silent to avoid hurting my feelings. That’s why writers don’t go to family and friends for critique; they’re more likely to rave about the book to make the writer feel good.
        I’ve had very good constructive criticism for several sources and applied most of their suggestions. I think the rejections come down to three reasons:
        1. My first chapter isn’t making the agent excited to read more;
        2. I haven’t accurately explained in my pitch what the story is about;
        3. Agents don’t feel the subject matter will appeal to millennials.
        The most feedback I’ve received from agents is that the story isn’t a good fit for them, meaning either the genre is wrong (unlikely) or they just don’t like the type of story.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The other thing is that I don’t quite know how to get across in three lines why people should read my story. I’ve written a hundred pitches and tried them in many pitchfests to no avail. That means my three lines are hohum, or, again, the agent doesn’t feel the story is right for them. None have come right out and said you’re wasting my time with this garbage

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I didn’t mean to post that last comment yet!
        I don’t believe any agent who has read my first ten pages or first chapter thinks the story is garbage; one of them would have said so. I just think the opening doesn’t grab them. Once I get past that hurdle I think I’ll be okay.

        Liked by 1 person

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