Tuesday, May 31, 2011

My last column for GLVWG this term

As I stood before the general membership at the May meeting, I had a strange moment of realization. Every meeting I ask for success stories from our membership, and without fail I receive them. It’s an uplifting exercise to hear the different forms of success and how success differs from person to person.
The end of the GLVWG year and the upcoming election also signals another event that many of us share: rejection season. After The Write Stuff conference in March, the membership as a whole must receive a lot of rejections at the end of May. Count out six to eight weeks from our conference, it brings us to our May meeting.
Every year there’s some good news, but every year at this time many members have a heavy heart. Rejected again. The exact words in the letters and emails change, but the message is the same.
The form letters don’t sting. Writers easily toss those aside easily and forget about them. It’s the rejections that follow requests for partials or fulls that burn, cause doubts. Statements like “Many people will connect with this character, but I didn’t” or “I didn’t like the voice as much as I wanted to” can hit hard.
Many of these statements don’t even make clear sense, because it’s not a conversation. We don’t have the luxury of discussing with the editor or agent what they meant by their words, so it’s like secret code with no real key.
The simplest way to get over rejection is to start a new query and submit, submit, submit. Some people set it aside and continue work on a different project, to let the hurt cool. Some people view rejection as a sign that something’s wrong and set out to fix it.
Unless the agent or editor says there’s basic grammar mistakes, the plot sounds like a cliché or that every character was flat (or equally discouraging remarks), there’s nothing wrong.
An agent, editor or publisher must love the material he/she acquires as much as the author does or the relationship doesn’t work. It’s a tough business. It’s a tough world. Finding that one opportunity or that one person is hard.
Everyone at GLVWG understands.

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