Friday, August 12, 2011

Rejection & Progress

I recieved another rejection letter this week for a short (15,000 word) romance I wrote two summers ago. This is the one I recieved such good praise for from Harlequin except for the absence of erotica. I dusted it off a month or so ago and submitted with a small romance e-press. This time I simply got a form rejection. And now I recall what these feel like.

I can not say how many hours I have invested in this short piece but it seems that now it is destined for the archived folded on my hard drive. Perhaps it's just not good enough to be worth much of anything other than an exercise in writing.

All I can do is move forward, resolve to write better and keep submitting.
Of course this rejection came at a crucial time in my current manuscript. I spent the majority of my writing time this week rearranging scenes and smoothing out the transitions so they make sense. I was nearly frozen at the beginning of the week not knowing how to move forward. There was something wrong with the last few scenes I wrote and my temporary solution was to avoid it because it was difficult.

I finally sat down Tuesday evening and hacked away. Coming up for air on the other side of what was a very tedious and nail biting process, I saw that I did what I had to do in order to keep the story in line and moving forward. I am happy with it now and hoping I can make quick work of the last third of the novel.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BOOK: Stiff, the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers

I recently finished reading, Stiff: the Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. What could have been dry reading filled with the whens, wheres and whys of human cadavers, is actually a very well written, witty account into what happens to us after we die.

Bodies donated to science are used for medical training, scientific study, crash test dummies, and more. Through the donation of others we as a society have learned a tremendous amount about how the body decomposes under various circumstances as well as how to cure the maladies of the living.

"The human head is of the same approximate size and weight as a roaster chicken. I have never before had occasion to make the comparison, for never before today have I seen a head in a roasting pan. but here are forty of them, one per pan, resting face up on what looks to be a small pet-food bowl. The heads are for plastic surgeons, two per head, to practice on."
Chapter One, Stiff

Roach offers some historical facts, which I am much obliged, and offers a respectful though humourous account of her escapades while researching this book. I zipped through it chuckling all the way and gleaning tonnes from the knowledge splashed within. No doubt this is one I will read again.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Best Rejection Ever

My work in progress, or wip, is my fourth attempt at a novel. I have been writing for a little over ten years while trying to craft that one manuscript that will have agents thrusting contracts at me. I have learned a lot along the way. I attribute most of the flops to genre confusion. Nothing sparked me. Everything seemed formulaic and contrived. I was striving to be published more than I was striving to create an excellent work of fiction. My fire was not lit and it showed.

Rejection letter after rejection letter came my way and it got so bad I almost quit. I was ready to throw in the towel and say "to hell with it". Life is too short to write mediocre manuscriots and rejection requests. I quit writing. I think I lasted a month, which is a long time for me. I tried to convince myself I was better off and that I was not meant to write. It worked for a while until one straggler rejection came to my mail box. I think I even forgot I had submitted something.

This rejection letter was the best rejection letter I have ever recieved. It praised my writing, complimented my style. The personalized rejection pointed to good parts of my story and gave me real feedback to make it better. Their biggest complaint was that I was a prude... she didn't actually say I'm a prude but she told me there was not enough sex for their publishing house. I remember reading that and thinking, "huh? Not sexy enough, really?" Since then I have embraced my prudish self (well not really) and have contemplated framing that rejection. The kind words and gentle praise was enough to get me started again.

After that I wrote half of another manuscript before abandoning it and starting my current project. When I find myself in a lull I pull out that rejection and smile. I may be a prude but somebody thinks I am a good writer.