Sending items out means getting an acceptance or rejection. Sometimes this is too much for writers to take, the waiting and the not knowing and most of all wondering if the writing is good enough.
Good enough is a troublesome concept. It’s not just whether or not a piece is well-written. There are so many things to take into consideration, like the overall market and whether or not the editor likes it. Then when the rejection comes through, you wonder if you’d just worked a little harder, made just one little change, if it would have been okay.
I can’t be the only one wondering these things. I don’t let it stop me from sending things out. I aim high. I get rejected. I try not to let it get to me. It’s not easy.
This time I got lucky, or I just had a great fit with The Storm is Coming anthology.
My story, The Rescuers, is one I wrote a time ago, but it always sounded like Chapter 3 in a novel. I needed time to focus it into something much better. It happens that way sometimes, when you have a good premise but the writing doesn’t quite follow through on the promise.
It helps to not give up on yourself or the story that needs to be told. Sometimes that short story has to be made into a novel, but other times it can work if other pieces are different. I throw out a lot of rough drafts, and some of them I tweak endlessly (or so it seems) and others pop out fully formed and ready to be something.
I guess it just reminds me of that saying where you write what you are ready to write. Sometimes we have ideas we aren’t ready to tackle at the moment. Other times we tackle them and falter, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep revisiting the idea until it gels.
There might be more to this Rescuers story later. I can’t say whether or not the characters will try to push their other adventures into my head or if I randomly run across something I know has to fit into their world. For now, I’m extremely excited to be slated for the upcoming anthology and waiting to see what else is in store from Sleeping Cat Books.
And I got another rejection today.
I wasn’t surprised – I expected it. I knew seven other authors who also received rejections for this particular magazine’s round of submissions. It’s part of a group of authors who are trying to help each other get published. It’s an online critique group, but we don’t have a set meeting time.
I’m a recent addition to the group, and I’m not close with many members yet. However, I find the advice fascinating and I’m glad to have a contribution to the group.
One of my favorite things is sharing things I’ve learned. I started this with my mom and other writers when I get the chance. (Yes, my mom is a writer, too, for those of you who didn’t know. One day I hope to be able to point you in the direction of her published work.)
Next month I’ll begin again, sending more things out. I’m signing up for an SCBWI-Iowa conference in April, and I’m going to be working on my submission for the manuscript critique this weekend.
As writers, if you’ve sent anything out to try to get published it’s much more likely than not that you’ve received a rejection for your work.
I recently saw a discussion online where the editor said she preferred it when writers thanked her for her consideration, even after a form rejection. I’ve never responded to a form rejection. I hate to waste an editor’s time when her inbox is brimming with slushy submissions. I respond to personal rejections, rewrite requests, and -of course- acceptances.
It didn’t occur to me that some of them would want a thank-you no matter what, but is the slight remembrance you get from a returned rejection better than annoyance from others?
Now I’m curious what others have to say on the subject.
Sometimes I wonder, when I get a piece back, whether I should rewrite it right away, or try again at another market first.
I think part of the issue is some editors give you some feedback and others don’t. The one today mostly said “thanks for sending, but we’re not interested.” The one I got before said “hey, I really liked this, but it didn’t quite fit because of…”
Most editors don’t have time to send that kind of information back, I’m sure. I’ll just be glad for the ones I impress enough to get that kind of a note.
Like all writers, I struggle with rejection. I may do better than some – but sometimes it really gets to me. One of my friends talked about wanting to be good enough to not be laughed at – because sometimes when he and I talk about writing we can see how bad others are. Does that mean we’re great? Nope. We just try everything we can to be better.
Easiest thing to figure out is how to get the best grammar and punctuation possible. The harder things- where it start and end, characterization and moving that plot and conflict ever forward- well, I don’t know because I’m still learning all of it.
I just need to figure out how to make a consistent choice between rewrites and resubmits.
I heard today, a little earlier than usual. I didn’t get in.That puts me in with the 817 people who are getting rejected, rather than the 25 who get in to the world-renowned program. I can live with that…
This means I don’t have to worry about how to juggle school with a husband who lives in another town and a baby. I will be able to focus on the family and start the next novel when I get finished rewriting the one I’m working on.
Speaking of rewriting, I finally got a good idea of where i want to go on that last YA novel, so focusing on that one is good. I probably rushed it – it takes me time to get enough distance to really know what I want to say and how I want to say it.
If I ever apply again, I’ll take all the things I learned this time and make a better application. Might even get in. I must remember it isn’t a commentary that I’m a bad writer – I’m just not ready at this point for the program. It’s not a commentary about publishability, either. (Is that even a word?)
On to the next challenge.
Happens to all of us sometimes. Just got the notice, I didn’t get into Footprints. The editor said I made the final list, but not into the book. I suppose that’s something.
I liked the submission guidelines on that piece, and I stretched myself to meet them. I seem to write novel-length stories, or almost flash fiction short stories. That anthology required something in between, which I should strive for more often.
The editor also mentioned when the next submission call would be posted. That has to be a good sign, right? I’ll have to check it out. Even if I don’t get accepted, the writing and planning of these stories is good for me.
Next time might be different, though. I’ll only know if I try. Time to get another piece out there – or more if I can manage it.