Writer's moments

Rejection and Reflection

Okay, so yeah, I’ve visited this topic before and I probably will again, but it’s my forum, so just deal. Got another rejection yesterday–this one of the second novel, which I will admit is not as strong as the first one or the third one or the fourth, for that matter.

Editor said, “…the first chapter, especially, was built on a number of coincidences that made the plot difficult to buy into.” Hello? It’s romance–all the plots are difficult to buy into. That’s why we read them! We’re writing escapism here, not gritty reality. If I were going to veer off-course and write what really happens, our heroine would be sitting on the sofa on Saturday night with a bag of Doritos, a movie with a plot that’s difficult to buy into and a slack-jawed, snoring boyfriend or husband.

Yes, I’m feeling bruised and disheartened. I know I am a good writer. No, I am a great writer!  My stories are character-driven, interesting, and emotionally charged, but they do not follow the category romance template. The second novel was my attempt to do that–write to the template. I pretty much took the category path with it and it’s falling flat.  Not that it isn’t a fun story–it totally is. But I’ll own it–it’s not my strongest story.

I’ve know that about Novel Two since I wrote it, but it’s been confirmed by my new beta reader, who is going at the task with enthusiasm and zeal. I’m crazy about her. Along with my crit partner,  she’s been a valuable asset to improving my writing. She reads with a critical eye and tells me honestly what works and what doesn’t. Although she enjoyed Novel Two, she made no secret of the fact that she felt it wasn’t as strong as the others. She offers suggestions that are insightful and clearly well-considered. And best of all, she believes in me, in my writing. If I haven’t said it lately or often enough, I’ll say it now, “Merci beaucoup, HR! You are the best!”

I know that rejection is part of the process. I know I will be rejected again and again. But that knowing doesn’t keep it from hurting  when it happens. So…I cry and I call my crit partner and melt down a little. I drink some wine–okay, a gang of wine–and then I sit back down at the keyboard and I write. Release the characters in my head so they’ll shut up and let me get some sleep, for fuck’s sake.

Each time this happens, I wonder if perhaps I’m not supposed to be writing at all. Maybe my name is destined for the inside credits of books–Copyeditor, Nan Reinhardt–instead of on the outside cover as the author. But then, what would happen to the people in my head? I’d be in therapy, maybe even drugged to unconscious to get them to stop pounding at the door of my mind, insisting their stories be told.

No, I’m supposed to be writing…because I am a great writer!



    • Nan

      Thanks, all! I’m better today–spent the weekend abusing myself with alcohol and sugar, but it’s Monday…new day, new week and I’m back to work.

  • Julie

    Well damn. Now I want Doritos.

    Oh wait, that’s not what you were saying. Right. Well, sometimes we just need to whine and wallow (and wine in some cases) to process the feelings. Then, we just get back to it.

  • robena grant

    I’m sorry about the rejection, Nan. It seems no matter how long we’ve been in this game, they always hurt. I have an awesome crit partner but I wondered if we knew each other so well that we were glossing over faults.
    So, I had a fifty page critique from Lani/Lucy. She did not pull any punches and I felt totally winded at first read. I’ve now finished the rewrite based on her insights and am ready to give it to four Beta readers who are in my book club. I WANT them to be totally honest but fear they will try to spare their harsh criticisms.
    It’s hard to know what to do for the best. I’ve kind of arrived at the “keep writing, enjoy the process, if something is achieved fine, if not fine” stage. When in doubt, have another glass of wine. : )