Monday, September 13, 2010
Venting about the Journey
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.