Monday, September 13, 2010

Venting about the Journey

Just received another rejection for my mystery series - from a publisher that had serious potential - one that wanted to read the manuscript and had studied it for a while. In other words, a possibility that hung around long enough to make me wishful.

Damn it!

The comments were positive. However, again, the editor stated it wasn't cozy enough for her taste. On the other side of the fence, other editors have stated it was too cozy for their tastes. Too smart . . . not smart enough. She thought the government job held by the protagonist might be not exciting enough for her readers.

My protagonist is a Special Projects Representative for Agriculture. As a result, she sees crime in the country - murder, kidnapping, slavery, drugs. She partners with federal agents. She's been blown up, knifed, shot and taken hostage. She's dating a federal agent who both introduces her to crazy situations and gets her out of others. In my work-in-progress, she's butting heads with DEA and the governor.


My knee-jerk reaction is to argue with my husband about what this editor thought. He's been down this road before. He listens. He tells me the editor is ignorant. He tells me my writing is good. I walk away hollow, knowing he tries hard and loves me but can't do anything about it.

My gut reaction is to toss most of the book (two books actually, and my WIP is a third). Change the plots. Change the protagonist's job, since this editor didn't like it.

My head (and my bruised heart) tells me to sleep on it.

Few writers sell their babies the first go around. It's taken me a long time to practice my writing to the point I receive rejections letters that admit that "Ms. Clark can definitely write." Few people sell their first, second, even third books. I'm on my third. It's so much better than the first two - just like the second was better than the first. My fourth will rise above the third; I already have a plot in my head.

Thus goes the cycle. I fight asking my agent if I should give up, because she's not in the business of holding my hand. She's in the business of selling my work. If she didn't believe in it, she wouldn't represent it. If I whine too much, she might consider me too much trouble. Don't blame her.

So I remind myself of everything I've written my readers over the 11 years I've been in business with FundsforWriters. Ninety percent of writers give up somewhere along the path, choosing to quit the journey, the hunt for a publishing home. It's hard to stand up and get shot by the very people you wish you could move in with. I could lie down and die or slowly heal and return stronger. Yes, the shot hurts for a while, but if I can get through this one, I'll only get better.

And with that thought, I go outside and garden, tend the chickens, let the pain ease a bit. Because tonight I go back to the keyboard, my head cleared of obstacles, filled only with ways to write better.


Anonymous said...

The set up sounds good to me.
What to do? I dunno. Go for a country walk? Find some people - as well as your husband - to tell you how great you are?

Ellie Garratt said...

I'm sorry to read your mystery story was rejected. Big virtual hugs. But DON'T give up on it. The fact that two editors thought two different things means that part of the selection process is always subjective. And maybe, just maybe you will send out your manuscript to an editor who thinks it's just right!

p.s. I’m running a competition this week and holding a blogfest in November. If you get time, pop along and have a look.

Cheryl Barker said...

So sorry for the disappointment, Hope. Love your determined spirit, though. That's what the writing life takes, huh? Best of luck with another publisher!

Angie said...

Sounds to me like you met Papa Bear Editor and Mama Bear Editor, and before you know it Baby Bear Editor will come along and find your novels JUST RIGHT! You only need one good editor. Keep on doing what you do!

Susan Toy said...

Maintain those positive thoughts!

Pam Stucky said...

I feel your pain! While rejection is just part of the game, the continuing frustration of it can be so discouraging.

Recently Bill Kenower wrote a column that resonated with me, talking about how not everyone is going to love every book. In particular, this passage stuck with me:

"Let’s imagine all those people are not looking for a story but a piece of fruit – to be precise, a Braeburn apple. They are searching the world for the best Braeburn apple they can find because for reasons they cannot articulate to anyone else, they love the Braeburn above all other fruits. If you hand one of these people a Granny Smith, they may eat it, but they won’t love it. They love Braeburns, and once they find the genuine article, they will, by some means or another, let all the other Braeburn lovers know where to find this fruit they have sought for so long."

Someone out there is waiting for YOUR Braeburn apple! I hope you find him/her soon.

Virginia said...

Ah. So sorry for the let down. But I believe you will get to publication road - for you are far too determined to give up.

Cynthia Briggs said...

Your protaganist sounds like a never-say-die, tough cookie type...much like her creator. Hmmmm, interesting coincidence.

P.S. Thank Heaven for supportive spouses.

Annette Lyon said...

Hang in there. Been there, done that. (There right now, actually. Plllh.)

Carol J. Alexander said...

You're gonna make it, Hope. Just hang in there. And thanks for sharing your feelings with us.