A few weeks back an agent tweeted that he was inviting writers to submit queries and first five pages of their manuscripts to him and he would be giving feedback on the pages. This particular submission was open for a couple of days only.
As I had been planning to query that particular agent later, I grabbed the opportunity and immediately sent the pages and my query letter to his email id. The agent was a biggie and very reputed and it would be great to get any kind of personalized feedback from him on my sample pages.
Normally all we get are form rejections that leave us scratching our heads, wondering where we went wrong.
A few days later the agent sent me his feedback. Though it was a short one, it pointed out a huge flaw in my initial few pages: the opening scene was very slow and a little too heavy on information and internal narration without enough scene action to pull the reader in. I wonder how I had missed the flaw. Yes, my opening was very slow. The agent had nailed it perfectly, zooming in on what was wrong with my first few pages. When I had queried that book last year, I did wonder why I had no requests for a partial or a full based on the first few pages.
Now I know why.
Keeping the agent’s feedback in mind, I revised the first three chapters. It was such an extensive revision, I feel I mauled my first three chapters like a vicious predator, until I had words under my fingernails. When I reread the three chapters, I was thrilled. It has become more interesting, racy and suits the theme of the book.
Sometimes this kind of a feedback is just the oxygen we need to revive our manuscripts.
Have you ever received such a feedback that has made you give your manuscript an extensive makeover that you don’t recognize it from the earlier version?