Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A Haughty Spirit ... Goes Before A Fall

Yep, I fell.

A manuscript of mine was very nicely rejected by a choice editor. Sure, everybody gets rejected. That's part of the business. But when I read the letter, I had to wonder- Did my pride get in the way?

Not to say I feel prideful about my writing. It's what it is. Not great, not horrible. No, I'm referring to something else.A few weeks ago I won a book called Getting Into Character by bestselling author Brandilyn Collins.

I never got past the first chapter. Not because of the book, but because I thought, I'll do it later. I want to write instead.Well, I wrote and in the editor's rejection she mentioned the characters were underdeveloped.

Yikes!

Maybe, if I would have sat down and studied, I might not have heard those stinging words. (Written nicely, btw, but ouchy still)

What's on your shelves? Have you ever put something to the side because A) you thought you didn't need it or B) you were too busy? And then regretted it?

18 comments:

Irritable Mother said...

Oooo. Now you've got me thinking. I have a couple books about ADD/ADHD that I have begun or skimmed, but haven't spent much time reading. Maybe there really is something in them which will help me understand my little guy.

Ha! And now I'm about to type in the word verification: "nosit." Does that mean I should get off my, ahem, rear-end and start reading?

Kristen Painter said...

Craft books rarely hold my interest more than a few chapters - except for Stephen King's On Writing.

And don't let one editor's words make you question everything. Another editor could just as well have said the characters were great. It's one person's opinion, that's all.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jessica -

Craft books are exactly that - craft books. They're not meant to be entertainment.

When I sit down with one of them, I view it as studying rather than reading. Since it's labor intensive and my mind can only handle so much information, I go through it a little at a time.

I try to run my work by my writers' group or a trusted author friend before submitting. It's not always pride when we ship things off prematurely, but rather a lack of experience.

Blessings,
Susan :)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jessica, I have a whole floor to ceiling bookshelf full of books on the craft of writing. A very small percentage have been read from start to finish, even smaller have been read more than once.

I always have a craft book on the go, but often I get bored with it half-way through and move on to the next one. VERY POOR CHOICE! I'm sure there are oodles of great directives that I'm missing. I really need to be more disciplined.

Terri Tiffany said...

I'm am sorry about the rejection and comment but at least they told you what you needed to do to improve it! that 's better than a no thanks.
Yes to your question--I know there are a few books on my shelves right now I ought to be reading to improve myself but part of me wants to be lazy and just do it without!LOL And that's not a great idea:)

Jessica said...

Karen, I don't know. :-)
There probably is something to help you at least understand parts of him. Let me know.

Jessica said...

Kristen, Kristen
You're destroying the molding of a teachable spirit. LOL
I'm just kidding. Thanks for the encouragement. I probably could fix the characters a little though. She also mentioned that my dialogue is a little stilted, but I'm letting that settle in the dust because I don't agree. Unless more people say so. Heh.
It makes me feel better that so many others get bored reading craft books too.

Jessica said...

Hey Susan,
I definitely lack experience but I did spend two months revising. So I probably need to learn more.
Yep, it is like studying, something I stunk at in school. *grimacing*

Jessica said...

Eileen,
You're making me feel both better and worse! LOL
Better that I'm not alone and worse that I'm undisciplined.
You're right though. Absolutely right.

Jessica said...

Hey Terri,
That's definitely better than a form rejection. I'm very thankful the editor gave me her thoughts.

I'm with you on the laziness. It's so much more fun to read people's blogs. :-)

anita said...

Hang in there Jessie. We're all in the same boat with you, or have been at some time or other.

I have faith in that story, it's a great premise.

Oh, and as for books I have on my shelf that I need to read, I think I have one on spelling somewhere...REALLY need to find it. *grinning sheepishly*

anita said...

Oh, and AWESOME progress on the word count! Keep it up!

Jessica said...

Oh whatever! Your spelling is better than most people's. You're so funny. :-)

Kasie West said...

Ouch. Yes, I have a book about how to write a good query letter that I am just too lazy to read (and because I think I already know how). Maybe it's about time, huh? :)

Inspire said...

Jessica,

No writer is perfect. We all need growth, and it takes desire and a love for writing that makes us want to get better and better. Don't be so hard on yourself.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received in order to flesh out your characters is to let your reader see, hear, taste, and touch what your characters are seeing, hearing, tasting and touching.

Keep at it. You will do great and your day will come. Editors and agents all have different tastes in fiction. An editor at Bethany House rejected Surrender the Wind because it opened with the hero's pov. But Barbara Scott at Abingdon loved the book and it is going to be published in the fall.

Keep submitting your work, and when you get a rejection tell yourself that editor or agent wasn't right for you. Mr. or Mrs. Right is out there somewhere.

Eileen Astels Watson said...

Jessica, I'm tagging you for a meme of seven bookish things about you. If you have time and are interested please see the following link for the rules. I hope to read yours soon.

http://eileenastels.blogspot.com/2008/11/seven-random-bookish-things-my-first.html

Blessings,

Eileen

Jessica said...

Kasie, InSpire (I know your real name, just temp. forgot it) and Eileen, thanks for stopping by.

Kasie, I didn't know there were entire books on query letters. That's funny. Have fun. Hehehe

Inspire, Thank you SO much for the encouragement. That's really nice of you. And I can't believe an editor rejected on the first pov. That's weird. But you found your Mrs. Right, so that's awesome! Congrats. :-)

Eileen, I will make time soon. Heh. Today is a busy day, so we'll see when I get on.

Thanks for stopping by, guys!

Sarah said...

So sorry about the rejection! And yes, I have hard time reading books on the craft of writing. Probably why I'm not a great writer...yet!