The first Sue sent me this (edited to remove names of the mutual writer-friends she cites) email (used with her kind permission):
The second Sue left me this comment:Read your blog. . . but a filter at work wouldn't let me see the code verification.However, I had to respond to your post where you're whining about voice ;-)Here:Don't do that. You're blaming everything and anything on not selling. Don't do that.One thing that "J" suggested to me was to find what I did *right* and concentrate on that. It took me a couple of YEARS to figure out what she meant."C" is emotional - she should highlight that. For "I", it's voice - hers just sparkles. For me, I think it's the gee whiz, the cool magic system, the neat world, etc. But I'm not sure. (Stay tuned, I'm still working on this)For you, I haven't thought about it much, but I think it's "heart". All of your stories have heart, family, a sense of right and wrong. When you figure it out, polish it, make sure that it shines on every page, and you'll attract attention.And isn't it so much more pleasant to emphasize the positive than to bemoan what you're not that good at?
Thank you, both of you, for your kindness and encouragement. I am much obliged to each of you. Yes, focus on what is working, continue to push the craft, stay honest to the emotional core of the stories.
That is the path I am committed to and the path I will continue on.
Keeping the faith in writer-land.