Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rejection! But Wait, There's More!

I don't handle rejection very well.

However, when you're executing the craft of writing to the best of your ability, rejection is one key component of that craft.

So over the course of the past five years, I've learned to develop a very thick skin when it comes to someone (usually an editor) rejecting a story of mine. As most other writers have stated time and time again, the rejection is never personal, but purely business. You can be a fantastic person, the salt of the earth, but if your story doesn't resonate with a particular editor, it won't get accepted.

You may be wondering why I'm broaching the subject of rejection today. Well, for one thing, I like sharing any and all kinds of news when it involves my writing, be it something mundane like what kind of progress I'm making, or something more concrete like a story making it past the first round of a cattle call. For another, the writing news that I'm sharing with everyone today is something of a mixed bag.

You see, I got another rejection of my novel late last week.

However, the news wasn't all that bad. While the editor did reject my novel, he did something that I have not previously experienced in my years of writing.

He gave me feedback.

While he thought the story was good, he felt it could use a bit more self-editing, so he made a few suggestions on what I should do to correct what he felt were the weakest parts of the novel. And when he finished, he also left open the possibility of reconsidering my novel should I decide to fix what he suggested needed fixing.

I actually read his e-mail about a half dozen times and got a second opinion from a trusted friend on it as well, just to make sure I was interpreting his rejection correctly.

In a nutshell, when I decided to get serious with my writing two years ago, this was the end result I was shooting for. Not necessarily receiving a rejection, but getting a novel published. The fact that an editor had stated that my novel is about 99% ready is the second best news I've gotten this year.

So in a couple of weeks, I'm going to wander over to the public library with my novel, pen, paper and the e-mail, and spend some serious time doing what he had succinctly stated in his e-mail.

Go me!

19 comments:

  1. That's so wonderful that the editor took time to give you that feedback, G. I would be very encouraged by that.

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  2. G - this is wonderful, wonderful news:) You've worked really hard at your writing and you deserve success - get going with that pen and serve up a winner!

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  3. Good luck! What is the best news?

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  4. Lynn: Thanks.

    I am definitely encouraged by the fact that they took the time to tell me what needs to be done to make it acceptable for publication.

    Jane: Thanks.

    I definitely intend to get crackin' and do what needs to be done. But I do want to take my time in doing it 'cause I definitely don't want to do a half-ass job on it.

    M: Well, the best writing-related news so far was when one of my stories made it past the first round of a cattle call and got bumped upstairs.

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  5. that is a good thing, G!

    i do not handle criticism well either, nor do i do rejection particularly well...

    that may be why i have done nothing to get published...

    congrats, it will happen sooner than you think!

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  6. congrats and good luck. the re-writing process is oft the most brutal.

    You know the characters, they have often become friends, and changing them when they already finished what they set out to do...or visiting one who died and having them live again, all too briefly...painful at times

    Hope you get published

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  7. Wow yeah that does sound positive news. I think it was an excellent idea that you also got someone else to read what the editor had said, because its quite easy to read what we want to read, and not what's actually being said.

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  8. Bruce: Thanks.

    Yeah, I don't handle criticism well either, especially if its unwarranted. But when it's helpful, like this is, then you can't help but pay attention to it.

    Darth: It took me a long time to get used to the re-writing process, whether it was for a short story or a novel.

    However, I am making damn sure that it's gonna be done right, 'cause I do want to give myself the best possible chance at getting published.

    And thanks.

    Joey: Ain't that the truth. Can't tell you how many times I've gotten myself into hot water over what I thought I read as opposed to what was actually written.

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  9. That's great news. When you get feedback like that, it doesn't even really seem like a rejection, does it. Because let's face it, editing is a huge part of writing, and the editor's letter to you is getting you to that phase. Happy writing to you!

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  10. Joanne: Thanks.

    To be honest, it didn't feel like a rejection letter, but more like an honest critique from a fellow writer.

    That's why I decided to get a second opinion, just to make sure I was reading what I got correctly.

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  11. Sometimes the cuts and changes are painful, but ultimately it's the way to publication, I think. Over time I think you get a bit more prosaic about making the changes that need to be made. I still fight it on occassion, though.

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  12. Charles: In the beginning, I used to be incredibly resistant to any suggestions about my writing. I thought that each story that I wrote was perfect and that it didn't need any more work on it beyond what I did to it.

    Took me a long time to get rid of that mindset, and it's now starting to pay off, with a story published last year and one being considered for this year.

    So I'm definitely going to take serious look at what they're suggesting that I do to the story, and in the end, will try to incorporate as much as I can.

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  13. Feedback, even stuff I don't necessarily agree with, is invaluable. It's pretty cool the editor gave you some.

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  14. Chris: It's very kewl. The last time someone gave me any kind of feedback was about two years ago when a fellow writer suggest I make a slight word change to a short story.

    This kind of feedback is absolutely platinum.

    ExtraO: Thank you kind lady.

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  15. I see this as nothing but very positive. Congratulations!

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  16. G.A.: Thanks.

    I see this as a very positive sign as well. In fact, I've started going over the questionable parts in my head, trying to see the issues from a reader's point of view.

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  17. Sounds like you're willing to work with the editor, n so may get a better chance. He wouldn't give you tips if he didn't like it-

    Good luck on the re-working!

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  18. Snaggle: He actually did like the story, which is why it took him so long to make a decision on it.

    At this point, I'm more than willing to do what it takes, within reason,to get published.

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Go on, give me your best shot. I can take it. If I couldn't, I wouldn't have created this wonderful little blog that you decided to grace with your presence today.

About that comment moderation thingy: While yes, it does say up above I can take it, I only use it to prevent the occasional miscreant from leaving thoughtless and/or clueless comments.

So remember, all of your comments are greatly appreciated and all answers will be given that personal touch that you come to expect and enjoy.

G. B. Miller

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