Monday, June 7, 2010

Swing and a Miss

Good Monday morning everyone. I hope you were fruitful and multiplied your word counts this weekend.

I hit a snag Friday lunchtime when I opened the mailbox and found to my horror the last partial requested, returned. I went to the kitchen with shaking hands, hoping, praying and I only found a form rejection. I was pissed, I was hurt, but I had to shake it off because Monster Baby was having a play date and I was looking forward to the 'Mommy Talk' time. It was a great afternoon because they stayed until six pm and I didn't have to THINK about the rejection. I discussed it with her but as she's not a writer, she only said she was sorry and we moved on to other conversation.

Later that night when I checked the comments from my blog post I found a friend whom I've neglected these last few weeks. Not intentional, but she's writing and doing some great stuff so I haven't wanted to bother her, but with the rejection I knew she was the person who I needed to tell. So I wrote her a long letter and she responded with the most wonderful letter back and put it all into perspective for me. Agents don't usually give feedback on partials. I kinda' sorta' knew that, but not, you know. I mean, I'm sure some of them do, but not any that I've been sending to. And that's what's been eating at my craw. How do I know what I'm doing wrong with my book? And my lovely dear sweet friend said, "There's nothing wrong with your book. You're a strong writer, you know the rules for grammar and composition, your plot and dialogue are fully developed. It's just the market right now." She then told me about a friend of hers who's been writing for ten years and finally got picked up this last spring.

That's really scary to me that I might have to keep doing this for the next decade without a bite but I know I can't give up. As you saw in Friday's post, there's nothing like writing in the whole world. So, onward.

Over the weekend I received an award, I've also been hoarding two or three more from week's past. I'm getting bad with these things. They are so appreciated and I am so honored to get them. I promise this weekend, I'll post them all.

I also got a letter in my in-box on Saturday morning that completely took me by HUGE surprise. It was completely unexpected and really kind of funny -- you know how you just put stuff out there and forget about it and then when you least expect it, it reappears. Kind of like a query but not. Anyway, in a few days/weeks I'll be able to share it with you. I'm still kind of overwhelmed by it, because quite honestly I keep thinking, "Little old me? You want my little old piece of writing?" So that's something good to take the sting out of the rejection. And maybe, just maybe, one of these agents will take me seriously after they see it. (I know, I bet you're just dying to know what it is. I honestly can't tell you yet. But when I can, you'll be the first to hear.)

I also got down and dirty with my funky old manuscript. I started writing and ended up with another 2500 words. It's not as much as I'd like, and it's really really bad writing but I don't care. I wrote three new scenes but not. I just kind of fleshed out the dialogue, wrote out a love scene, and another scene with the dog. (Yes, there is a dog, and no he doesn't die.) I don't even know what to call that kind of writing. It's not a first draft, there's so much missing, but it's more than an outline. Notes? But more than that.

Also, I finally got to go to B&N. I received two gift cards at Christmas and finally had enough free time to get there (half hour drive) so Monster Baby and I left first thing Friday morning before it got too hot. I haven't been in B&N in so long. It's just like church. (Haven't been there in a long time either.) All those book cases, the smell of brand new books, 50% off stickers. I was in heaven. I bought Stephen King's ON WRITING, a horse book for MB and Writer's Digest magazine. I forgot how expensive new books are. I wanted to get Donald Maass' book too but didn't have enough.

We then traversed across more of the city to the used book store (don't hate me) and I found -- you'll never believe because I really can't believe it either -- the book I have been wanting to buy for 10 years, which I did buy before we moved but then I lost it in the move. Well, as I was brushing my teeth that morning, I said to myself, "If by any half a shot, they have that book for $5- I'm going to buy it." (Because they never have that book. Nobody ever has that book.) I went to the section and almost peed in my pants when I saw it. I squeed in the store and MB came running over. She thought I hurt myself. It was $5.10. I checked my pocket and found $17-. Movies for her, more books for me, and McD's for lunch. Yay!

So that was my exciting weekend. I'm thinking my Wednesday posts will be excerpts --WiP Wednesday's -- or something like that. And Friday's will be the Grille as usual. (Thanks Davin, that made my day!) I hope your weekend was productive and your week will be even more. Write on everyone!


~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

So sorry to hear of the rejection. But I echo your friend's supportive responses. I keep thinking about Audrey Neffenigger's story. Her manuscript for The Time Traveler's Wife was rejected by something like eighty agents before she was picked up for representation. It wasn't the story, it was the industry and market. Hearing stories like that keeps me hopeful.

I'm planning a jaunt to B&N this week. In need my fix! The kids and I hit a used book store on Friday. It was wonderful.

Have a fab week, sweetie!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

It's the little things in between the rejections that keep us going.

Christine Danek said...

I'm glad you are better. If you need me you know how to find me. It's hard and I'm not to the point of query yet. I can't wait to hear what you got in the mail. Sounds like that pushed the rejection aside. What a great feeling going to B & N. The smell of books. I love it. I want to check out that Stephen King book too.
Have a great day!

Ted Cross said...

Very sorry to hear this. Only the market right now they say. What if we run through every agent on QueryTracker and get rejected by all without feedback? I suppose we dump our books in a drawer and keep writing the next one, but I sure as heck want to publish this one - it is the story dearest to my heart.

Christi Goddard said...

I made very little progress over the weekend. I didn't get near as much done as I'd planned, and I know it's stress related. Glad to hear you got a bit of good news to perk you up!

Piedmont Writer said...

Nicole -- I know, this business is subjective. Why do we torture ourselves? Because we're writers, duh.

Alex -- The little things and a big bag of M&M's!

Christine -- That Stephen King book was AWESOME! You must read it!

Ted -- No matter what happens we must keep writing. It's the only way to stay sane. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming...

Christi -- Stop with the stress, I know easier said than done. And a little good news goes a long way.

Erin Kuhns said...

Anne, you certainly know how to find the smiles hiding in the frustration. I'm sorry to hear about the rejection, but the mystery email and the book find were fantastic!!

Tara said...

It's a long road for us writers, but I know you have the stuff :)

I'm dyin' to know your news!

Lydia Kang said...
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Lydia Kang said...
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Tahereh said...

i'm so sorry about the R, Anne, but i'm so happy to hear you turned to the right person at the right time. good friends are the cure-all for every bump and bruise along the way. hang tight to that one :)

and, of course, hang in there. this business is all about perseverance, and it can be heart-breaking so much of the time. but it's not without hope, as evidenced by the ray of sunshine in your inbox :D

i can't wait to hear your good news!

all my fingers are crossed for you!!


Piedmont Writer said...

Erin -- The book find was a major score, and the inbox thing is just WILD. I can't wait to share it with all of you.

Terry -- OH to have Donald Maass as my agent! I queried him too. Rejected but I knew that going in. I just wanted to say I queried him.

Tara -- I hope I've got the right stuff, I can't go back to the restaurant.

Lydia -- Good friends like that are a treasure to have. I so appreciate her advice.

Tahereh -- Hope -- that's what we're living on now is hope.

Patti said...

Sorry about the rejection. If it makes you feel any better, an agent had my full manuscript and didn't offer any advice either just said no thanks. I was more upset about that than the rejection. But it sounds like you have some good news, so that's great.

Amanda J. said...

Rejection sucks, but we have to keep moving forward. I second your friend's advice, she seems to know what she's talking about. :)

Hope things keep looking up!

Stephanie Thornton said...

Rejection sucks. SUCKS! But you're right- we have to plow through it. And it sounds like you've got a great cheerleader to help you out.

And not getting feedback on a submission that's rejected is mystifying. I always want to know what made them say, "Nope, not this one." Alas, we'll probably never know.

Wendy Marcus said...

Hi Anne!
I have a friend who congratulates me when I get a rejection, because rejections mean you're putting yourself out there. And if you want to be a published writer, that's what you have to do. (Although I agree, they SUCK!) Keep on submitting! It's only a matter of time before you find the agent/editor who appreciates your writing style and your voice. (Unless you already have.....part of your post was quite cryptic! Hmmmmmm. What was it you received in your inbox on Saturday, I wonder? Can't wait to find out!)

Jen said...

Wow sounds like one filled weekend. I'm sorry about your rejection letter but I'm so glad you had someone to lean on during the process, several friends just don't understand our writing unless they are a writer themselves. It's nice to be able to vent and say all the things you want to without being judged and having a fellow writer tell you everything will be okay!

I'm still glad you had fun with your play date and enjoyed the rest of your weekend! Yay for B&N and yay for finding a book you've been in search of for quite sometime! I'm curious as to what the title is!

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ugh. I'm really sorry about the partial, Anne. but I'm glad you were able to get some good support--and were able to buy a book!

Piedmont Writer said...

Patti -- OMG! That is just rude. A full request and not even a word of encouragement or help! What a jerk!

Amanda -- Just keep moving forward. And yes, my friend's advice was worth a lot more than the M&M's.

Stephanie -- Isn't that the worst! I so totally want a REASON why they're passing instead of just, "It's not right for me." Just give me a clue so I can make it better.

Sarah -- I bought 8 books and I've already read three of them including the Stephen King and a romance.

Wendy -- Yeah, at least I'm putting myself out there, you're right. And I'm sorry but I can't divulge any secrets right now.

Jen -- Thanks, it wasn't a total wash-out weekend so that was okay.

Jennifer -- Yes, books are the thing to help make it all better yes? Almost like chocolate but not. At least they don't add to my thighs.

Crystal Cook said...

Oh, that's a bummer about the form letter. But that's so awesome that you have such a good friend to help you through it :) And B & N!!! That would cheer me up for sure, and finding a lost book you want so much! And secret exciting news!!!! Things are going your way Ann, I just knew they would :)

Have a great productive, happy week.

Summer said...

Secret exciting news, indeed! Oh, I hope you can share it very soon!

In the meantime, I'm excited to hear about your continued work on the category romance (I'm not really sure what that means--maybe you could explain one day in a post?)!

As for the rejection, well, there's nothing I can say that hasn't been said, but I'm in 100% agreement with everyone else that you're talented and driven, and I know that I'm going to see your name on the shelf one day soon. :-)

Donna Hosie said...

Total suckage, but one agent down means you are a step closer to the one who will love you.

Ariel Swan said...

You were so supportive of me last night - and I want to send it right back at you. This is all so hard. I wonder why we do it to ourselves and then I know why - because the writing is the best - as you said. Hang in there and know that your positivity will come back at you in one form or another and I hope that at least one way is a super postive agent response.

Suzi McGowen said...

I'm glad the universe is still encouraging you with awards and other rewards, while you wait to find just the right agent :)

Anne R. Allen said...

Anne, I know your pain. We've all been there. What's even worse is realizing 8 months later that you're not even going to get a "thanks but no thanks" on that partial you sent off with such joyous optimism. Nowdays some agents don't even comment on a full they've rejected. Arrgghh. Colleen Lindsay says she only gives form rejections, even on fulls. People tend to try to argue, apparently, which makes agents crazy.

But rejections often have zip/zero/zilch to do with the writing. All it means is you didn't win the lottery this time.

But it sounds as if you had some other triumphs this weekend. It's a roller-coastery business.

I apologize profusely for not commenting more often on your blog. I thought I was following you and just realized you weren't on the list. Sometimes when you hit "follow" it doesn't go through.

Thanks for all your comments on my blog. I always appreciate your positive input.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Sorry about the rejection, but I'm thrilled can't wait to hear about your mysterious good news. You deserve some good news, definitely. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Crystal -- Aww thanks, did anyone ever tell you you were as sweet as cotton candy?

Summer -- I feel like James Bond with my news but I can't let the cat out of the bag just yet. Hopefully soon. It's not in my hands.

Donna -- From your keyboard to God's ears.

Ariel -- We're all here doing this crazy thing called writing -- if we don't support each other when we're down and out, then who will? I'm only paying it forward. That's what it's all about.

Suzi -- Thanks. And that's all it takes, just one little agent who loves me. OR rather my work.

Anne -- No worries on not following. Blogger has been very naughty lately. And welcome to my crazy little world.

Sarah Jayne -- Mysterious, thy name is Anne. I hope I get the okay for the news soon. I can't wait to share it with you.

notesfromnadir said...

Your daughter put it very well and very succinctly!

Also, it was returned quickly which means you won't be held in suspense anymore.

Keep querying agents -- and publishers! Best of luck! :)

Susan Fields said...

I'm so sorry about the rejection, but hooray for your other news that you can't share yet - that sounds like it's exciting, whatever it is! I just love B&N, too, but I have to limit my visits because I always end up spending way too much.

Piedmont Writer said...

Lisa -- Very true, that was the only good thing about this rejection. It was 7 days from start to finish.

Susan -- I could have spent $1000.00 in that store and still not bought everything I wanted. Or Monster Baby for that matter. She's still mad about the dinosaur book.

Lola Sharp said...

I'm sorry about the rejection, but I agree with all the previously mentioned upsides.
But YAY on the B&N trip of goodness. :) (On Writing is a good one)
And YAY! for your other book purchase, and letters and I'm glad you found plenty of things to be happy about.
Your publishing moment will come...keep writing, polishing, improving your craft and submitting. It's going to happen.


Anonymous said...

I'm very sorry about the rejection. I'd like to echo your friend and all the previous responses. It's scary to think of the possible long journey ahead of us, but if you keep writing, one day it'll be worth it. Good luck!

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Wow, what a weekend, yeah! And I for one cannot wait to hear what that letter contains! I'm so excited to read your book, too, you have no idea. There's three in front of it, though, but good thing I'm done with my writing for a fair bit of time so I have time to read!

Lydia Kang said...

Hey there! I responded to your comment on my blog but just in case, I'm going to answer your question for next Monday's post! Feel free to email me at MedicalMondays (at) gmail (dot) com if you have any other details or questions!

G.~ said...

Sorry to hear about the ms being sent back. But yay! for your new adventure whatever that might be.

I love, love, love B&N. I used to go all the time and now it's a once in a while treat. But it's that much more appreciated. I feel so inspired after leaving a B&N.

Just purchased the Donald Maass book but haven't read it yet. I have to get through the last bundle of books I just bought. I can't help myself, I see something I like or hear that someone else thought it was great and I'm off to buy it. You should see the pile of books on my nightstand and in my office and my bathrooms and my...sorry, went off on a tangent there.

Have a great day and good luck with your new endeavor. Can't wait to hear about it.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

So sorry to hear of the rejection. So, so painful, no matter how it's received. Your friend gave you excellent advice, though. Still, I wish I could just have some magic words to make it all better. These moments really stink.

BUT, I'm glad to hear of your news from Saturday! Sounds like something pretty magnificent, so Yay! I love good news. And yay to buying books! With gift cards! I have one my super CP sent me that I've been waiting to use. It's burning hole in my handbag, for sure.

Elle Strauss said...

The pursuit of publication is not for the faint of heart. I took my first steps back in 1995. I just got my agent in January. Obviously, I was a novice when I started, but it took a lot of stamina to keep going, especially when I knew I was starting to get the hang of it. I'm not getting any younger, ya know? But, I'm still living and breathing and I can't find anything else I'd rather do--believe me, it I could I would!

Talli Roland said...

How did I miss this yesterday?

I've never got any feedback on my rejected partials. Yeah, it sucks. Big-time. Sounds like you've been dealing with it in the right way though - by working! Don't let it stop you!

She Writes said...

The good news is, if you are a writer (and we have established you are) you will be writing in a decade no matter what :). Fingers are crossed for you to get some good news way sooner than that ;)!!

Ed Pilolla said...

it's so tough to stay in that good creative energy space when business people reject out stuff, often without even looking at it. i've often wondered how creative types deal with rejection. it's not like i have thin skin either. i worked as a news reporter for years. it's a weird system of getting published in this world. it just doesn't foster creativity, or encourage it, or sustain it. glad you have a good friend to put things in perspective.

L'Aussie said...

Writers write. Keep on writing. 'I get knocked down, but I get up again. You're never gonna keep me down...' and so on...)

Vatche said...

Sucks about the rejection, but it's just another peg on that ladder to success. And also, Stephen King's On Writing is awesome. Let me rephrase that, all of Stephen King's books are awesome,in my opinion. Stephen King is like my idol. Anyway, cool post and write on!

P.S. Thank you for following my blog and for the comments. :)

Donna Hole said...

Well, all that waiting and wondering is why I'm keeping up my day job. A lot of thinking going on in this post.

And writing random scenes - if thats what it was - is still getting the writing done. I've done it myself, and always find a way to connect the dots. I'm sure you will also.