Formulaic Writing vs. Freestyle

So I received a rather mixed review of my book from Writer’s Digest, an outfit that I have long-suspected of being profit-driven and much too rigid in their acceptance of submissions.  While they praised my writing style, grammar and spelling, they criticized the book by saying that it has no plot and that the characters are not well-developed.  Interesting, but not quite accurate.  My characters are very well developed; in fact, I think that their “flesh and blood” presence is one of the book’s strong points.  How much further does Writer’s Digest expect a writer to go?  I spent a lot of time dwelling in my characters’ feelings and thoughts and no one has suggested that they are less than “real”.  As for the “elusive” plot:  not too sure what they are looking for.  My novel follows a freestyle form of plot that many, many other writers have used.  There is a beginning, a middle and an ending, however loose that may be.  It is a flowing story, not a stagnant one.  If I read books that only followed an archaic formula of writing style, I would miss out on most of my favorite authors!  Writing has moved into new territories and with the availability of self-publishing, even more styles are arising.  Writing is an art and as such should not be seen with a narrow-minded view, but as an ever expanding horizon of new and varied styles.

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