(This post brought to you by the news of my first “on submission” rejection.)
Rejection sucks. It really does.
Whether you’re trying to break into the publishing industry with queries to agents or submissions to editors…or whether you just passed along your very first draft to your very first critique partner…you always stand the risk of being told “it’s not good enough.”
And, sadly, that’s what I was told earlier this week. Three times. Yup. The first rejection was from a major publishing house in NY. I’m bummed to say the least. But Enemy, Beloved is still with two houses, and there’s a few more out there so DONT’FREAKOUTKRISTIN!
The other two “rejections” came in the form of critique partner feedback for Immortal, Beloved, the sequel to Enemy, that I just finished. I sent off the last 50 pages to be torn apart by two of the most vicious (and also smartest and most appreciated) critique partners out there. They didn’t hate it…per se…just tore it to shreds saying it could be tons better.
This writing gig is hard. Really hard. I feel like I’m competing with the likes of authors I love to read (ie: Brennan, Novak, Ward, Ione, Kate, McCarty) and here’s the even scarier part…I AM! I really am. I desperately wanted to send my crit partners my work and have them tear the house apart running to the computer screen. I wanted them to devour the pages. I wanted them to call screaming that they want more…a third in the series! But they didn’t.
So in the face of the three rejections this week I did absolutely nothing yesterday other than watch DANGEROUS BEAUTY. Do you remember the film about the 16th century courtesans? If you haven’t seen it OHMYGOSHWHYHAVEN’TYOUSEENIT you should netflix it. It’s about forbidden first love and tears my heart out for the heroine every single time. I kept myself busy by cleaning cobwebs out of my vaulted ceiling and my brain. I devoured my crit partners’ harsh, but heartfelt, words…and chocolate.
Then I got back down to business. Instead of saying “thanks for reading my work” and moving along with minor edits to appease my injured ego, I listened to all they had to say. Really listened. I took notes. Asked questions about my own plot, including hypotheticals. I asked where they were taken out of the story (took notes) then where they were “in” it (took more notes). I analyzed why and read (I mean researched) some of my favorite books, rereading parts that hooked me and asked myself why. Why do I care at that moment? How did Ms. NYT Bestselling do that? I took more notes.
It would’ve been easy to say my crit partners were too harsh. It would’ve been easy to let their sobering advice about one of my plot points fall on deaf ears. I could’ve easily thought “I’m the writer, and I like this scene, I’ll do what I damn well please.”
But this writing gig isn’t easy. So if I want to make it among the likes of Brennan, Novak, Ward, Ione, Kate, and McCarty I have to work as hard as they do. I have to take that soul dampening advice and chop apart my manuscript no matter how much I want to be done.
That’s my challenge today: look at the manuscript with fresh eyes. Love nothing so dear that I can’t chop it to bits. Try not to worry about being done, but rather being great.
And *deep breath* here I go.