So I experienced something new recently. I’ve been waffling over making major changes to The Proper Way to Say Goodbye. Now granted, I’ve only queried one novel, so that means I’ve only edited heavily one novel, but I’ve never changed anything big in my stories during the editing process. Little details, yes. But major things like POV shifts or Tense for instance? No.
You may have seen the other posts. My concern is this:
Chloe is an 18 year old freshman in college. Technically, that is not young adult, although you do see other books marketed as YA but with main characters in college.
Naomi & Ely’s No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Psyche Major Syndrome by Alicia Thompson
Love Story by Jennifer Echols
Hushed by Kelley York
My concern is that I may get an automatic rejection on my queries based on the setting alone.
As of now, self-publishing (as new adult possibly) is not an option. I’m not ready for that.
So what I’ve been waffling on is… should I change Chloe to a high school senior? I’ve read all sorts of blogs about this issue and have talked to other writers for differing opinions.
Then I analyzed my story to see the parts I’d have to change. Chloe would have to attend a few classes at the local college, but could still be in high school. No problem there. And most of the changes could easily be dealt with. Minor things.
But, it wouldn’t be the same. And I have one big issue. Chloe has a relationship with her graduate teaching assistant. Yes, ethically that is wrong and breaks school rules. But I can forgive that for my story, because the TA is a positive character in Chloe’s life, and Chloe is a consenting adult.
But if I changed Chloe to a high school senior, I couldn’t be as forgiving of the TA having that relationship, even if technically Chloe is an adult. To me, that’s a bigger line to cross.
Which is why I’ve been waffling. Going back and forth between thinking I should change. Then back. Then forth. Then back.
But I think I’m done. I’ve decided to stick with it. And when I query, I will keep my fingers crossed that an agent who is interested, but rejects because of the setting, lets me know that. Because that would at least leave options open to change and possibly resubmit.
I love my story the way it is, so I’m going to take a chance and leave it and see what happens.
Have you ever waffled over major story decisions?