An Encouraging Rejection

I have discussed previously how as writers we are often our own worst critics. There is a very real insecurity where our work is concerned, yet at the same time we obviously believe that our story is worth telling or we wouldn’t have written it. We are overly confident in the fact that we think our voice is special or should be heard, but there is always that voice saying, “Nope, nobody cares! Nobody wants to hear your story! Your writing is terrible and not special at all!”

At least, that is the case for me personally. Of course it won’t be the same for everyone, but I’ve heard an alarming number of other writers express the same thing.

Since I started sending out query letters to agents, my confidence has definitely taken some hits. It has been something of an uphill battle to keep believing in my own future success. I frequently remind myself that so many amazing writers were rejected dozens of times before finally getting that, “yes.” J.K. Rowling in particular was rejected something like 75 times, and she ended up writing one of the most successful, well-received book series ever!

Overall though, the rejection letters I have received have honestly been so polite and diplomatic that they haven’t been too difficult to swallow. Last week I received probably the most uplifting one yet. The agent stated, “I found your story to be very strong, and it drew me in right away. You have talent, but unfortunately, I didn’t fall completely in love with it. […] I do want you to know that it was very hard for me to pass on this project, and I’m certain that if it hasn’t already found a home, it will soon.”

How can I be that upset about such a “rejection”? 🙂 Of course I don’t require validation from others where my writing is concerned–even without it I would continue to write, because it is what I love to do and it fulfills my soul in a very unique way–but god it still feels great to read those words!

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Characters Telling The Story (& a Short Excerpt)

I mentioned previously that I’m currently reading “Bird by Bird”, and the section I recently read was regarding letting your story kind of fall into place, rather than pre-planing the entire thing. The author was driving home the point that this is the most organic way to write a story, the way that will result in the most compelling writing and interesting characters.

Happily enough, that is exactly how my book unfolded. I began with the first sentence, not having ANY idea of what it meant or where it would go. But as soon as I started writing everything just fell into place. I could see my main character–her house, her family, and the street she lived on. I listened and she told me her story, bit by bit. 🙂 I legitimately didn’t know where it was going to end up until I was a solid 3/4 of the way through it.

When that happens, it feels like magic. I’ve written plenty of other stories and started other books that I gave up on after 10 pages. In those cases I was most likely trying to force the story, versus letting it just flow from my pen or keyboard. But this completed (save for some revisions I’m still working on!) book feels so special and personal to me, because I was able to get into that zone. I was able to listen to the characters and let them push the story along. I was able to get to the point where I write something and when re-reading think to myself, “No, she wouldn’t say it like that.” Or, “He wouldn’t react that way. It’s not his personality.”

It has been awhile since I put in an excerpt from said book, so I’ll put a short one in this post. This is the scene where the MC (Thana) meets Phoebe–her perky, happy coworker who ends up knowing far more than she lets on…


That day I had to work after school. Things were going well at the library. The peace and quiet was good for me. Nobody there knew that people were dropping around me like flies. Patrons came and went, smiling politely and occasionally making small talk. Nobody bothered me with questions or looked at me with dread. That day I came in to find a tiny blonde girl waiting at the punch-in clock, positively beaming at me.

“Hi! My name is Phoebe. Kristen hired me yesterday and told me to be here today to train! You must be Thana.”

“Uh, yeah. Kristen didn’t say anything to me about this…” Not that I was surprised. Kristen often left me with added responsibilities when she didn’t feel like handling her managerial position.

“She left a note by your desk, I think. That’s what she said she would do, anyway. My my, your eyes are certainly green, aren’t they? Quite striking and most interesting.” She smiled at me like she knew a secret.

“Oh, yeah, thank you.” I mumbled, feeling off-kilter from her whole demeanor. Her teeth still beamed at me perfectly. Her citrus yellow sun dress fit her torso like a glove, showing off her petite curvature; hugging her slender waist, falling effortlessly over her shapely hips to a flowing, girlish skirt. Her white, strappy shoes looked like they had a three-inch heel, and circled around her ankle daintily where the buckle shined nearly as much as she did.

Suddenly I felt quite frumpy in my slightly baggy, comfy jeans and plain grey crew-neck tee.

The note from Kristen was just where Phoebe said it would be. Thana—train the new girl. Thanks. –Kristen. Very helpful indeed.


Creativity & Business Collide

Fact: I need to learn more about marketing myself as a freelance editor.

I am not naturally a “business-savvy” type of person. Some people are born for business dealings and the like, but that is not me. My brother is that type. His mind is that of an entrepreneur. Business, finances, marketing, etc… that is where he excels.

My mind is (clearly) that of a creative type. Thinking about the nuts & bolts of business just… ugh… makes me cringe. What I’ve recently realized, though, is that it makes me cringe because I’m not familiar with it. I’m not confident in that realm. And what is life if not a never-ending opportunity for personal growth?!

So, I am taking it upon myself to get a little bit uncomfortable, and learn something new. I mean, I need to anyway, if I want to be successful as a freelance editor. I’ve had some clients and created a website (possibly switching to a new site in the near future), but I’m lacking the necessary marketing tools/knowledge to grow it further.

To Amazon I went. Two used books are on their way to me, and I’ve carved out a bit of time every morning to do some online searching for gigs. It’s a start, right?

As always, wish me luck! HaHa.

Pitch Wars – Second Attempt!

I will be having another go at Pitch Wars this year… yikes!

If you aren’t sure what that is and you are interested… go see one Miss Brenda Drake for more details! She’s the woman in charge of it all. 🙂

Basically, I will pitch my book to various mentors in the hopes of one of them choosing me. If so, they will help me get my manuscript in top condition, and then in a few months I will pitch it to the agents who are partaking in hopes of actually getting an agent. Woo hoo!

Last time I had good feedback, but it seemed that I miscategorized my novel. Magical realism and urban fantasy can have many similar characteristics and I couldn’t decide! Wikipedia’s description of magical realism is: “a genre where magic elements are a natural part in an otherwise mundane, realistic environment.” Urban fantasy is described as: “a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting.” My novel is set in the modern day world, in a standard, realistic American city, and has some mythological elements in the form of special powers that the main character has. Do you see my confusion?!

I ended up choosing magical realism, and two mentors told me that they had to pass because they weren’t interested in urban fantasy, and that’s what my novel seemed like to them. #fail

HaHa! Nah, not a fail… just a learning experience!

I’ve obviously worked on my query further, so hopefully it will be even better! And hopefully my urban fantasy choice will be largely agreed upon. 🙂

It Happened.

I received my first rejection letter (well, e-mail..).

Whew! It was far less painful than I imagined. Still a bit painful, but nothing a quick smile didn’t fix. 🙂

There are sure to be many more to come, but I will do my best to continue to brush it aside. As with anything else in life, we writers should aim to compete with ourselves and care most about what we think of our work. Clearly this is easier said than done… but it’s worth working toward.

I’m in the same position with my fitness goals; trying to rewire my brain to stop comparing myself with others and worry about what progress I’m making compared to where I started. It becomes so easy to look at someone and compare ourselves to them and end up feeling shitty about ourselves. No fun!

Anytime I see some super fit girl and my mind thinking, “Damn! Why can’t I look like that?!” I switch the thought to, “No, good for her. I’m on my way!” So I suppose the same kind of thought process could work when receiving all of the sure-to-come rejections.

Positivity, people!

Another Step Along the Way

Whoa. Time gets away from me sometimes, I guess!

Query letters have been sent out… ! Yikes! I can’t really believe I’ve finally made it to this point… hoping things go smoothly from here. I’ve had this idea in my mind of what having a book published will be like, pretty much since I was 4 years old. What if it’s all horribly disappointing and doesn’t happen how I imagined?! These are the thoughts that terrify me.

But, worrying won’t help! That much is certain. So, I keep typing out these query letters and sit back to wait for a positive response. I know there will be negative responses as well (on top of complete non-response, which is almost worse, I think), but that is just something to accept about life in general. Things can’t always be good! And it doesn’t invalidate my talents or efforts.

Can you tell this is part of my near-daily mantra? HaHa! I do believe it, in my heart. But I still need reminding once in awhile.

So, This Book Synopsis…

It seems I’ve been making this book synopsis far more difficult than necessary. Of course. I did some more searching around the lovely Internet for examples and tips for writing a book synopsis, and from what I found it appears that it’s basically what you would say to a friend if they asked you, “So what happens in your book?” and you have like 3-5 minutes to describe it. You want them to get the general idea, but you know that you don’t have time for all of the minor plot points or minor characters. They don’t need to know that in chapter three your MC’s older brother was working on his car, unless that somehow majorly affects the plot. (Which, in my case, it certainly doesn’t!)

So, yeah. I just wasted a lot of time getting all detailed and then freaking out wondering how I was going to condense those eight pages down to more like three pages. It’s kind of aggravating that I’ve spent so much time on the original version that I had. Alas! You live, you learn!

In other news, last weekend completely ran away with me. Do you ever have those weekends? Probably even weeks. Where you are literally going, going, going so much that you barely have time to even think? Or eat?! Yikes! I’m enjoying a restful week so far, so that’s good.