My Awesome Rejection Letter

What an awesome rejection letter, I thought as the email was read. Words I never thought I would utter in the same sentence: awesome rejection letter.

In February of this year I attended a free writers conference. There I came across a publisher from NC. Soon after I got home I submitted a query letter to him. Within two weeks he requested the first three chapters. Doing so he asked for the entire MS. I was told it would take 4-6 weeks. It took longer. My poor friend Lisa saw how the waiting was making me nuts. I finally sent him a nudge letter after conferring with some people if it was okay to do so. He recently wrote me back.

He wrote thanking me for submitting the MS to his staff. He continued by saying that declining to continue with this MS was a very difficult call for him.

Mike then said there were a number of excellent quality about the text that the staff found appealing. My characters were clearly drawn out and the action was very vivid. He said a few other nice things.  But he stated why they were turning me down at this point. He listed them.

After all was said and done the last paragraph I felt was really cool. He said if we have not completely offended you they hoped I would consider their publishing house in the future with other manuscripts I might have. Our judgment is that you have real potential as a children’s author.

Pretty freaken cool right?

I wrote him the email below.

First of all thank you for taking the time to read my MS. Instead of getting a regular rejection letter you gave me a well thought out letter. That means a lot to me. I am let down, yes, but am not offended. What I am is grateful for you gave me the points on where I can improve my MS. That is invaluable and again I thank you. I will go back to the drawing board and work on the points you laid out below and strengthen my story. Once I accomplish that will submit to publishers in hopes someone will take a chance on it.

It is nice to be encouraged to submit other projects to you. Can I be so bold and ask if it be possible for me to resubmit this MS once I work on it some more?

Thank you for the compliment at the end and the time and consideration you gave me.

He wrote they would be very glad to review Jasper again once I work on the suggestions.  Again pretty freaken cool right?

Out of the three points, two I feel I can incorporate into my story. The last one I am not to sure have to think on it.

This has been a process.

1-First the book was written

2-It was submitted to my writers groups, book reviewers, a day care and my editor

3-Worked on my synopsis and query letter

4-Started to submit to various publishers in Feb. of this year.

5- I have received a variety of letters. Some have been form letter while others were not accepting submissions at this time. Some were overwhelmed with manuscripts.

6-The next step was a publisher saying I had potential. It came from a major publishing house.

7-This rejection letter was next saying I had potential and points on how to fix my MS

8-The step I am at now, working on the points.

All projects are being pushed to the side as I work on this.

Even if it goes no further with this publisher I am still stoked.

Can you tell?

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Are you hooked?

You are going to hate me for this,” Robin said as she looked at me with sadness. I had just read the first chapter to a book that had been completed a week before. Sitting in the library room with one of my writer’s group I tensed on the inside. Okay be calm, breath how back can this be?

Robin said the first two paragraphs of my first page needed to go somewhere, anywhere but where it had been placed. My hook she continued really started on paragraph three. Looking where she pointed I knew she was right, 100 percent correct. Thanking her I made the notes on the sheet.

The back story would just be moved elsewhere in the book. It is rare I delete that much words unless they don’t work anywhere else. The hook, the most important part of any story regardless of length has to be mastered. There are many books on this topic though the one I refer to most often is “Hooked” by Les Edgerton. This determines if a reader will continue with your novel or just place it down never to be picked up again. Some example of hooks:

-”The creatures came again last night.” – Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge

-”I lost all interest in sex after I died.”- Water-Skiing Down the Styx

-”When John Rochon was found dead Sunday morning on his front lawn, his neighbors were not surprised- only they had always somehow suspected his timid wife Beth would die first.”-He Had It Coming

One of my writing teachers once said if you are missing a hook at the beginning, then go through your story and find it. There is a chance you have written the hook but have placed it further into the story line. This is something we as writers can not ignore and hope it will just happen.

One of the many reasons we write is to have people read our stories and get enjoyment from them. To do that we have to make sure they get pass page one, then page two and so on until the last page has been read. As much time and effort we put into writing it does no one any good if the book remains on the shelf or worse the trash can.

Character Development Class Finished

Eight weeks ago I signed up for a Character Development class. I had taken this instructor before and had learned a lot from him. In the short span the following was taught:

-Character Development

-Creating Real Life Characters

-Bringing a Character to Life

-Characters creating the plot

-The Villain

-The Character/Inner Life

The last two weeks we concentrated on the story that was growing by each passing session. We had a story that had been created by groups and the overall story that as individuals we were nurturing.

By the time the class ended I had a story of over 5K words. It is in a genre that I have never truly tried before which is action and drama. Well not one of this length anyway. The critiques the class gave me on the last day when I read the WIP was favorable and I will probably when there is time, feel free to laugh here, to expand it into a novel.

This class has caused me much sorry and joy. I truly had a love hate relationship with it. There would be weeks where my teacher would say “ Yes yes you nailed it.” to “No, you missed the boat this time.”

I learned that there is so much more for me to discover. Also it showed me that there are some aspects that I am getting right. In the last eight weeks I have shared with you my class notes taken each time there was a lecture. I hope some of what was shared on this blog has helped someone along the way.

Telling him I would take this class again my instructor asked why. Simple answer really. Every time a class is taken over, I am starting at a different place with a better understanding of what I am trying to accomplish. I have never worked this hard for a writing class in my life. That is a good thing, right?

By doing so I had growth in my writing.