I'm not someone who takes much notice of Horoscopes, but today's caught my eye:
It's important now to build upon the structures you have already created. Lean on the foundations already built, without trying to start something new. If you become distracted with nearby shiny trinkets -- real or imagined -- remind yourself they won't shine light on your path of self-discovery.
Chillingly appropriate somehow as my agent forwarded this:
I really enjoyed the chapters you sent, which I found intriguing, well-written and atmospheric and which reminded me a little of THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON. Sadly, however, I didn't feel the plot had enough surprises to keep me hooked and because this is such a tough area of the market to get right...........
They, my rejections that is, appear to be getting better, so maybe one will turn into an acceptance at some stage?
Anyway, I pooled a couple of published authors, whose opinion I trust and it seems they agree with the assessment that 'there aren't enough surprises' in my stories.
I asked for specifics and this is what they said:
Injuring a five year old isn't tragic enough - kill him off
When your hero discovers something about his rival - don't threaten dire consequences, have the hero left for dead in a ditch after a sword/gunfight.
Increase the internal conflict - don't simply have the heroine wring her hands over a belief the hero isn't interested in her - have her accuse him of something he hasn't done, determined never to speak to him again and rush off to accept the villain's proposal of marriage.
Readers want to be brought to the edge of disaster and dragged back at the very last second.
[Hmm . . it appears my villain trying to drown my heroine wasn't enough.]
These roller-coaster stories are the types of books I enjoy too - but I feel this can be overdone to the point of non-credibility.
As a reader, once I reach the third, tied-to-the-railway-line scenario, I tend to throw the book in a corner, because 'Surely no one is that unaware'. And if she is, she's too dim to deserve the hero and would probably be content to end up with the villain anyway and spend the rest of her life in denial.
It seems I have a plot or two to re-work. Or maybe I need to start another....