Rejection

I awoke this morning to an email from a Wild Rose editor who rejected Silver Linings. It didn’t depress me. In fact, I found it really interesting and it raised some intriguing questions for me.

The first thing that I found interesting is that she said the “first 11 pages gave nothing but back story and internal dialog.” She felt that the lack of “real” action made it drag. So, here’s my problem… my character is interacting with someone via email. How is that internal dialog? I mean, I get that it’s internal dialog in the sense that it’s Maris’ thoughts about those emails that the reader is privy to. However, don’t Alex’s thoughts and words and emotions that are relayed in the emails count for anything? And the idea of “real” versus “online” begs a whole other question to me, which I’ll get into in a moment.

The second thing I found interesting was this:

Soughing

2 dictionary results for: soughing

sough (sou, sŭf)

intr.v. soughed, sough·ing, soughs
To make a soft murmuring or rustling sound.

n. A soft murmuring or rustling sound, as of the wind or a gentle surf.

Wanna guess why I included a dictionary entry here? The editor didn’t recognize that word in my manuscript. She had a question mark on it. Now, in my world, if I come across a word I don’t know, I look it up. According to Mrs. Hodgins, my 7th and 8th grade honors English teacher, this is how you grow a great vocabulary.

Okay, granted, maybe she did that because she thought readers wouldn’t know what the word meant, but if that was the case, she shouldn’t she have said, “Perhaps you could use a word here that readers would more easily recognize and understand”? Instead, what she did was slap a question mark on the word, which told me that my vocabulary probably outstrips hers. And I mean, really. What professional admits to a lack of knowledge in such a way? If I wanted to be taken seriously as an editor, would I tell an author that I didn’t know the meaning of a word? Not me. I woulda looked up the word, used the comment I made above about people perhaps not understanding the word, and never let on to the author that I had no clue what that word meant.

So is it wrong of me to respect her opinion less because I knew a word she didn’t, and she showed me her soft underbelly by letting me know she didn’t know the word?

Anyway, the “real” versus “online” issue is one I’ve seen batted around for the entire fourteen years I’ve been online. My friend Hilly and I have a similar take on this. Our friendships online aren’t really any different than the relationships we have with people we see every day. You see, communication is the key to any relationship, and when you’re talking to someone in IM or email, you’re communicating with them sometimes more than you do to the people who are physically around you. My question to people who think there is a difference is, why is a relationship only valid or real if the person is physically in front of you?

I don’t happen to feel that “IRL” is something different to what takes place online. However, I don’t deal with people in an untruthful way online either. I don’t portray myself as something or someone that I’m not. And besides, people can lie to you to your face. They can tell you they’re something they’re not and give you enough evidence to make you believe their lie. You can be duped in person almost as easily as you could be duped online, which brings me right back to the issue of… “real” versus “online”.

This isn’t something that will probably ever change, although in the past couple of years, I’ve seen many more people shift toward the belief that there isn’t a dividing line between these kinds of relationships. I know I can’t really convey this point as well as Hilly does either. I’ve seen her express it very well. If I can find her blog post, I’ll post a link, because it’s a discussion and disagreement in philosophy that isn’t going to go away.

Another interesting thing that came about this morning regarding Silver Linings is that the message board contest I originally wrote it for chose a winner. Wasn’t Silver Linings, although that doesn’t surprise me either. However, the winner was a dear friend of mine, so yet again, I do not feel rejected! Hmmn. I sense a trend here.

My final thoughts on my rejections come down to this: When I wrote Silver Linings, part of this story came from a deep seated feeling inside myself, a fantasy really, of connecting with a past love whom I’ve never 100% gotten over. I wanted the piece to feel rather like a fantasy, with a twist at the end, which is why you don’t even know Maris’ real name until then. I didn’t want to take this story beyond 6K words. I didn’t want to delve into these people’s lives. I just wanted to convey their feelings.

Today, I’ve got a few ideas for expanding Silver Linings, something I hadn’t wanted to do. Perhaps I hadn’t wanted to expand on the story because of it’s connections to my past and the man I left behind. I mean, what person really wants to pick at a 20 year old wound? But maybe I need to. Maybe Maris and Alex need a better chance than I’ve given them. Maybe there are more than 5100 words in them. So, maybe, this rejection happened for a reason…

Or could just be over thinking all of it. Heh.

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20 Responses to Rejection

  1. Lex says:

    Thanks KyAnn. I could tell she was trying to be helpful, which I understand is more than a lot of editors do.

  2. KyAnn says:

    I'll take an informative over a form rejection any day–even if I don't agree with everything the editor/agent said.

    Good luck with resubmitting and keep writing!

  3. Lex says:

    LOL Nothing. It was the voice that was my downfall. But I'm happy to say, it's all fixed now!

  4. 'What's wrong with the third person?' asked the English Courtesan, giving Lex an icy stare… 🙂

    Livvy xxx

    <abbr>English Courtesans last blog post..The English Courtesan & Motor Man II</abbr>

  5. Lex says:

    Marty – The lines are split on what she meant by the question mark. Half the people who know the story think she didn't know the word, thereby she was questioning it's usage. The other half think that was her way of saying why the heck are you using this word, use something else. And yeah, I think I have another publisher in mind for the rewrite.

  6. martymankins says:

    As Crys said, it's cool she took the time to go through everything, but at the same time, she could have at least looked that word in the dictionary first. And if she actually did look it up, maybe the ? was her asking about the use of the word where it was in the story.

    Either way, another publisher will get a chance to see your work.

    <abbr>martymankinss last blog post..Scooter Sunday #22</abbr>

  7. Lex says:

    Jen – I think the one thing that happened that was important was when I started thinking about voice. Something Mary Winter brought up to me. I hate passive voice. And I used it. GAH! So I kicked myself for a bit, figured out where it came from and why, and ended up with the notion that Alex's side of the story needs to be told.

    Discovering why I'd done this in a passive voice has me rethinking how I do my Bar posts. They're always first person, something I NEVER wrote in before the Bar. Switching back to third in a story like Silver Lining was bound to be fraught with voice issues. So yesterday's Bar post… was in third person. I'm gonna try to stay out of first for awhile. I can write a strong first person story, but as a reader I'd prefer a book or short story be in third person so I don't want to write those things in first. The serial story is a good place for first because it helps you keep track of the characters better. But I'm just gonna wean myself off for awhile and see if it helps.

  8. It's always the way with a good rejection (sounds like an oxymoron, but isn't). An 'R' that gives feedback is one I can use. Even if I don't agree with the comments, it often inspires other thoughts that DO work.

    And that's what you've done here.

    I love this story and I hope it finds a home.

  9. Lex says:

    Cissa – I have a lot of WIPs at the moment. As I finish them, they'll be submitted to publishers. Eventually, one of them will hit. Meanwhile, The Pink Chair Diaries has my trilogy featuring the chair. Thanks for the support!

  10. I for one enjoyed the story, and would have liked to read more. If you fleshed the story out to a novel, I would be more than happy to buy it when published.

  11. Lex says:

    Mysteria – What her comments did was make me see that keeping the hero a secret until the last 1/3 of the story was maybe not the best idea. So I'm gonna try putting more of him than his emails in there. Thanks for the comment about my attitude. I guess what helps with this is that I fully realize this isn't personal!

    Savannah – I think perhaps it will sell, but I also think that my hero needs more face time. We'll see how it looks when I'm giving him that. I added almost 1000 words to this story today.

    Helen – Yeah, I'm fully convinced that this is a good story. Maybe it does need something more. Perhaps not what this editor thinks it needs but then, I don't think she got this story anyway. It's okay, I know someone else who didn't get it either. Although… it was a guy! LOL

  12. Helen Hardt says:

    Hey, hon, we've all been there. You have a great attitude about it. If you found some of her comments useful, then it was a good experience. I've had good rejections and bad rejections. And I'll no doubt have more of both, LOL. I have to agree 100% with Mysteria. (And those publishers who turned down Harry Potter are kicking themselves, aren't they?) So much of writing is subjective.

  13. I'm so sorry about the rejection……but this is just a bump in the road…..you will sell the story…

  14. Mysteria says:

    I think you're attitude about this is wonderful. The only things that separates successful people from unsuccessful people is perseverance and not allowing others to define you or your talents. Keep your chin up and stay true to your work. Take the tips that are actually useful (if any) and use them to improve your work and disregard the rest. In times like this, I like to remind myself that several publishers (9 I believe) turned down the Harry Potter book… clearly some publishers/agents wouldn't know a good book if it hit them in the head 🙂

  15. Lex says:

    BPR – I'm gonna try to expand it. Maybe it will be more marketable then. If things don't go well with this piece, I'll just put on here as a free download. I'm not ready to give up on it yet!

  16. Bluepaintred says:

    well I for one am sad. I was looking forward to reading your story!!

    <abbr>Bluepaintreds last blog post..I almost kissed the mailman Lady!</abbr>

  17. Lex says:

    Crys – Not exactly. But I suppose that was implied. I'm not sure if I will. If I rework it and add in the ideas I had this morning I may end up not submitting to them but to one of the other publishers I've been checking out.

  18. Crys says:

    Yes, the process was very useful. That she took the kind of time to give you those notes is high praise indeed in this industry. Did she ask you to retool and then resubmit?

    <abbr>Cryss last blog post..Broken</abbr>

  19. Lex says:

    Robyn – I think the real line is one formed by the communication between you and who you hang out with, whether in person or online. There are so many ways now to tell whether or not someone is telling you the truth online. Mostly, it's about where you are online. Dating sites – don't believe even half what you hear. Groups like the PCD loop – very little won't be truthful. It truly is all about who you're hanging with and why.

    As for the word she didn't know, I might have sounded harsher about that and her 11 pages of non action, than I meant to sound. I did find her comments useful overall. The entire process was very useful for me. I mean, I had to get my feet wet sometime, right? I just didn't take the rejection hard because IMO she made a few mistakes in how she presented it to me. You gotta be on your toes with how you pick apart something of mine, because I wouldn't shuffle off something that hadn't already been read by a few others who I know will tell me honestly what's wrong with it.

  20. You have a terrific attitude about the rejection in my opinion. I have more "online" friends than "real life" friends these days and the dividing line has virtually (haha) disappeared for me.

    I agree with you on the vocabulary matter. If she did know the meaning but thought something else should be utilized, then she should have said so, otherwise, I would have assumed she didn't know the meaning of the word either. Sad.

    <abbr>Robyn Michaelss last blog post..A Form of Greed</abbr>