Okay, if you are only writing so that you will be rich and famous, then you can go ahead and quit.
Are they gone yet?Okay good.Now, as I was saying,don’t be discouraged.If you have been following up with the program and writing as much as you can, submitting in as many genres as you can find to write for, you may have a small or even a large collection of rejections with very few or no successful publications.
This is just the warm-up. We haven’t begun the marathon yet.Remember, if you don’t remember anything else that I tell you.Rejections are a part of life, for authors, like everyone else.If you have never been rejected in your entire life, then it is likely that either you’ve never asked for anything or you weren’t paying attention.So, how do I put this nicely?Get over it.
You are growing as a writer.The more you write the better you get.Writing for other people means writing to a higher standard than writing in your journal.You can either pack it in because you got a few negative reviews, or more commonly non-reviews or you can learn from your mistakes and move on.
I don’t know about you, but I would like to share my writing with other people.That’s why I write outside of my journal.Over the next few months we will discuss different avenues for publication and the myriad ways that we can edit to improve our writing and improve our chances of being published.
So, seriously, don’t let a few rejections get you down.Keep on writing.That story that speaks to both you and the reader is still inside of you waiting to come out.
Okay here is the question.You have gone through your masterpiece.You have determined your story does indeed have a plot and that the characters all matter, but something still seems to be missing.Your story still feels static.What could be the problem?
“To be” could be the problem.What is wrong with the verb “to be”?The issue is the definition.To be, quite literally, means to exist in a particular state.Therefore, it is, by its very nature, static.Often the use of” to be” creates a passive voice even without an additional verb so that your grammar checker may miss it.Consider the following sentence:
The flowers were yellow.
Okay, thank you for that piece of information.Where is the motion, the action?What ability does this sentence have to move your story forward?
Now, let us try this in a different way:
The yellow flowers brightened the room.
By using an active verb, you have created a dynamic sentence that answers the eternal question of “So what?”
For those of you who slept through that particular class in grammar school, “to be” in its various incarnations includes am, are, is, was and were.Go through your manuscript and highlight every instance of “to be” and apply our mantra: So what?Apply your answers, where appropriate, and watch your manuscript come alive.
Alright, so you've been following the program, writing and submitting to a dozen outlets. Perhaps you've got something accepted. Congratulations. Mayhaps* you have a couple of rejections. Before you rush off to send the rejections to another publisher lets take a look at them.
First things first. I know this sounds harsh, but ask yourself "So what?" Why should anyone care about this story? It's hard to treat your story as if someone else wrote it, but if you are this great artist, I think you can manage ;) What about the first few sentences grabs your attention? Is there a single place in rereading where your eye drifts off the page (screen)? If you are bored, what do you think your reader feels like? Why is each character in your story? What is the journey that makes this a story instead of a log entry?
Print out your story, read through it out loud and make notes as you go. Once you've made your revisions, wait a day then recheck your grammar, spelling, punctuation etc. Now you can resubmit. If there isn't a market today for that particular piece then set it aside. There may be one next week or next month and you don't want to have your piece tied up on some publisher's desk who isn't going to publish it anyway.
I received a few rejections this weekend and I am going to go through this process myself. Let me know how you are doing meeting your goals.
*If you don't know what mayhaps means, then you might want to read a little Stephen King.)
You should NOT put your heart into the submission process.
As you might have figured out from my previous posts, I am submitting to themed magazines/anthologies to get my creative writing exercise.
Today I received a rejection on one of my horror. I wasn't shocked because it was one of my first attempts. It scared me, but I guess it didn't scare the editor.
But the editor was kind enough to pass on the name of someone collecting a similar anthology. Then I started to fret because the referral was a "for the love" anthology and how would I feel if they rejected me too.
Here are my choices, reread and reedit and submit it for a generic magazine and hope they find my story interesting and that the other 800 people who wrote to that theme don't submit before me. Or I can go with the flow.
Remember, we are writing every day and the first goal is getting published. We will worry about money once we figure out what voice and style works for us.
And yes I submitted Le Fey today and I'm pretty happy with it. It feels like a teen movie.
Good luck in your 1 year challenge. Do you have any good news? I'd love to hear it.
I had a dream last night that I was walking with Rod Serling through a cavern tunnel that represented the Twilight Zone anthology. He would take the stories and "edit" them causing characters or items to appear, disappear or change. I am still searching for the deeper meaning. Sigmund? Carl?
Also, my next short story La Fey is almost finished. (yay!) I'll let you know when it is submitted.
Jolene has been finished, edited and sent off to get her stamp of rejection. I also competed an entry for the Moonlit competition (http://www.brianagincourtmassey.com/contests.html). I am getting to the point where my horror scares me. Now if I can just get to where it scares you ;)
I am waiting on 12 responses for short stories. Today's story is a delightful homage to Dolly Parton's Jolene and a tribute to a good friend of mine from the backwoods of West Virginia who has passed on. How are you doing? Did you set a goal? What have you done to meet your goals?
I had a terrible dream last night. The worst part of it was that it had no plot, the characters were poorly defined, in short it would serve as a decent free-form poem but a terrible short story.
The other day my wife came up to me with a nightmare that she had and I gave her my best scowl. Her vivid nightmare was better than half of the stories that I had written last week.
Of course, she pointed out to me, there is a significant difference between coming up with a story and putting a story to paper, but I reserve the right to petty jealousy. It is one of the perks of our marriage.
Dreams are often about feelings, rather than plots. The point of writing is to evoke those feelings with our words. Converting a dream where purple and garnet sand is an emotion and the sound of the ocean roaring is a flavor can be an intense exercise. Are you up for it?
Call me late for dinner. I always am. I had this delightful delusion of all of my trunk stories and poems providing fodder for periodicals while I wrote novels about what ever I wanted to. Enter the real world. Themed issues and publications looking for fresh contemporary ideas. Go figure. I have to say, though, rather than being daunted, I am excited. The idea of writing to a deadline for a myriad publications has been just the fuel to restoke the fires of my imagination. I am at the store clothes-shopping with my wife and I see stories all around me: a put upon grandmother instructing her charge on purchasing her first bra after lambasting her errant son for calling her and expecting her to resolve his predicament when she already taking care of her daughter's children. An elderly gentleman shuffles by alone, evoking a story of life after love. Writing to specs: You may fear it will kill your creativity, but try it for a while. Enter some flash fiction competitions, look up the writer's guidelines for a magazine you had never thought to publish to before. You may just be amazed at what it does for you.