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Hello. Lovely to join JW and this group. It's interesting to hear what everyone is working on.  I have a completed manuscript set in 18th century St Kilda. After excellent feedback from an agent and others, I decided to send it to a literary consultant for an overview, having had great advice from her on two crime novels. Oh dear. Apparently it's 'over-faithful to the setting and history', it doesn't 'subvert lifestyles and social conventions', and I've made the mistake of 'tidily marrying everyone off'. It was her opinion that publishers just wouldn't be interested in that kind of thing nowadays. Suffice to say, I don't know what to do with it now. It's taken years to get to where it is, and a major edit is unappealing. It's all so subjective, I guess. I read HF that subverts social conventions and I love it, but I also like HF that is true to the setting and time. Luckily I have other projects on the go, so this one is resting for now. Time will tell!  All the best, Helen

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  • Hi Helen - welcome to the group. Getting fresh eyes on your work is always helpful, and I think Roger has given you great advice about letting it sit for a while and then using the accept, adapt, reject filter.

    I do wonder about the 'over-faithful to the setting and history' comment. Surely one of the challenges of writing HF is the need to set a story within the strictures of a time frames customs. It's also what gives it that unique difference for the reader.

    Perhaps the consultant hasn't phrased her response as clearly as she could and it is more as Roger suggested - a need for greater peril to build tension. 

    Getting on with a new project is a good idea while you let the ideas simmer. Good luck with whatever your decide.

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    • Crossed with Alex. What he said too.

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      • Hi Kate. Thank you for taking the time to comment, and thanks for your good wishes and suggestions. I think, given a bit of space and time, I'll probably read the report again and get some good ideas from it. All the best, Helen

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      • I find the idea of a HF book based on St Kilda damn wonderful! I'd love to read that and because it's a life I know of but not well, is really want and expect it to be historically accurate. Just a brilliant setting. 

        Perhaps a mixed porcine for the couples would be more believable but it depends on your tone and market - is it romantic HF?

        I can only concur with what others have said - let it rest and return to it in the New year. 

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        • Thank you Lynn. Really helpful comments - I really hope you can read it one day! There is romance, but it's quite a dark tale based on true facts. All the best, Helen

           

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        • It has been really interesting to read your post. I’ve had two editors and three Beta readers evaluate my work. Although I was happy with the edits, the editors both struck me as lacking in wider world understanding. They must be masters of their industry but I felt some of their comments were naive. This was not true of the Beta readers. I wonder if sometimes workers in the publishing industry can suffer slightly from tunnel vision. This sounds as though it might be true in your case. 

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          • Thanks Georgina. It's so interesting to hear your experience too - I think you could be right. All the best, Helen 

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          • Helen, please keep going with the book once you're ready to revisit it. I am fascinated by the history of St Kilda and I am sure many others would be too. I have come very close to agent representation with an accessible literary novel - but it apparently wasn't 'twisty' enough according to a few of the agents. I'm now working on another, historical fiction this time, set in late Victorian/early Edwardian London. I intend to go back to review the other when I have finished the draft of this one, to see what to do next. Sometimes I think you just need space from a work in progress, like others have said. Good luck!

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            • Hi Kate. I don't know how I missed your comment before. Thank you for your advice. It is definitely a good idea to leave things aside for a while. Good luck with your historical WIP, and with your previous novel. It's all so subjective, isn't it? I've read a lot of so called 'twisty' thrillers recently, and I've been disappointed. They seem very formulaic - well written, but the plots just don't do it for me. All the best, H


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              • Also interested to hear that St Kilda fascinates you! There's so much scope there for historical fiction and no one has covered the early 18th century in fiction. Fingers crossed!

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