So I was going through some old emails and found this gem. This was the response I got from one woman I sent a "Get Sloane" query to (I have bolded her most important points for emphasis, and italicized and put in brackets my thoughts on them), to which I responded with "Thank you for your time":
"Sorry, this will never do. You have managed to cram every beginning novelist's errors into a single manuscript. At least the first few pages after which I gave up because time is not to be wasted.
Among the errors:
Starting the narrative by dumping the author's notes into the text.
Telling the reader everything including the character's abilities and values.
Proper novels show the characters observing and responding to people and events through which they reveal themselves, just like real life.
Filling the text with descriptions of mundane activities instead of letting the character's intentions and desires lead the action.
I did chuckle when dialog was interrupted by the line: Nearly fifteen minutes passed of nothing but silence.
A different unsuccessful writhing quirk: portraying a protagonist who is too dumb to live. A character too clueless to have never questioned her situation and 20-year missing parents would be tended to by mental health professionals full time.
Demonstrating you have no idea how the world works. Rich people don't eat at the food court at the mall. [(Amelia's note: Rich people can do whatever the fuck they want. If they want to eat at the food court at the mall they can eat at the fucking food court at the mall)]
From the flow of the narrative, I'd say you began this story when you were about twelve years old and have now polished it up. The grammar and spelling are fine, but even today's self-obsessed pre-teens are unlikely to go for this.
I do "get" the idea that you are presenting a totally brainless bimbo (the way she mixes up old movies) but it isn't working. Instead of laughing at an idiot (Gracie Allen and some Steve Martin characters) the reader begins to fear that the author, like so many college students has damaged her own mind with drugs and binge drinking. [(Amelia's note: I'm probably more sober than you have ever been you fucking hag)]
Oh, wait... maybe you are reincarnated Gracie Allen. The rapid change of scene and topic and screwy logic is very Gracie-like.
Still the prose needs a lot of work to make it work.
If you want to sample a novel focused on a completely insane young person, read: The Wasp Factory by Ian Banks.
By all means try other agents."
But then the more I thought about it, the more I felt this sufficed:
"You know, I've thought about it, and decided I'm not going to leave you a professional response, because you didn't do the same for me.
First, if you had read the story at all, you would have learned that it was a spy comedy. I "started the narrative by dumping the author's notes into the text" because it was AIAs (the spy agency this entire story revolves around) file on Mia Sloane. They were the words recorded about her. In her file back at headquarters. So in it said "the character's abilities and values." Which is what is put in a file on someone. But you later see "mundane activities" and "every day events" if you read past the first paragraph.
I may have "portrayed a protagonist who is too dumb to live, a character too clueless to have never questioned her situation and 20-year missing parents (who) would be tended to by mental health professionals full time," and she may have needed full time health professionals, but this is a fictional story. Somehow she didn't have to have health professionals full time. Maybe she was smarter than she let on. Maybe this is a fictional world where she didn't need health professionals full time. This could be the part where readers use their imagination to connect the dots.
"Demonstrating you have no idea how the world works. Rich people don't eat at the food court at the mall." I first must thank you for the first of your long list of accusations, when you know nothing about me. Thank you for your concern, but I have been living in this world my whole life, and I have a small grasp of how the world works. And all I have to say in response to this is rich people can do whatever they want. They are rich. If they wanted to eat at the food court at the mall, they could eat at the food court at the mall. Also, I must point out, if you read past the first paragraph, you would have learned more about the character's personality, and known she was the type of person who would do this.
"From the flow of the narrative, I'd say you began this story when you were about twelve years old and have now polished it up." Thank you again, for this accusation. Thank you for your concern, but I did not write this when I was twelve years old. I have, however, been polishing this up since I wrote it in 2010, making sure it was good enough for the world to see. (Take away four years of my life, and no, you do not get a twelve year old.)
"I do 'get' the idea that you are presenting a totally brainless bimbo (the way she mixes up old movies) but it isn't working. Instead of laughing at an idiot the reader begins to fear that the author, like so many college students, has damaged her own mind with drugs and binge drinking." Oh wow, third accusation, you're on a roll! Again, thank you for your concern, but I don't drink, or do drugs, contrary to every other person my age, college-goer or not. I'm one of those rare students who are too busy doing homework and receiving good grades to partake in such activities. So you, like my readers, need not worry that I am writing a story while high and drunk.
With that said, I'm sorry I had to send this, but I felt it was necessary. You attacked me personally. You responded unprofessionally and took personal aim at me. I don't know if it was because you were bullied by an Amelia in elementary school, or if you just plain hate my name. Or, maybe you truly did just hate my story and took offense to it. If that is the case, I am sorry. But I must point out, that A) you did not need to read it, and B) you did not need to respond with such colorful, non-constructive criticism. Word of advice for the future: an author can't take hateful words like you said to me and use them to make their work better. All you did for me was make me sit through one big, stinging insult. How about next time, when you read something you don't like--which, by the way, is understandable, since stories are completely subjective--you say something along the lines of "Thank you for considering me as your agent, but unfortunately, this project isn't for me." Or just "This project isn't for me." Or don't respond at all; some agencies don't even contact the author if they aren't thinking of requesting the rest of the manuscript. Either would have been fine. And I wouldn't have had to undergo a form of verbal abuse that I did not deserve from a stranger, no less. Whose opinion I hardly care about.
Wishing you a better day, and, the strength to get over your elementary school bully,