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Jul
02

Writing a synopsis, for me, is harder than writing a novel. And I know I’m not alone in that sentiment. Talking to a writer in the midst of chipping a novel down to a page or two is much like talking to a marathon runner who still has to walk to her car. She’s so elated to have run so far. Yay! But, are you kidding, there’s still an expanse of hot pavement to cross? Can’t someone just drive the car across the lawn and over the curb and through the fence and pick me up?

Synopses are necessary. Every editor and agent who accepts submissions wants a synopsis. And even those among us who self publish need a synopsis (or something very much like it) for the book description that will accompany the book on sites like Amazon. There’s just no getting around these tiny demons.

But, criminy, writing a synopsis is tough. Really tough. I’m talking beef-jerky-left-in-your-backpack-all-winter tough.

I’ve tried a bunch of short cuts over the years. I tried writing one sentence for every chapter. I’ve tried recording myself pretending I’m telling someone about my book like it was a movie I’ve just seen. I’ve tried using the 7-point plot, the 4-act structure, the hero’s journey. I’ve taken classes, read articles, attended workshops. And while they’ve all helped (and have been the key that unlocks the process for others), I still suck at writing a synopsis.

The mere thought of writing a synopsis drives me to the good bourbon. (Never drown your sorrows in cheap booze, I say.)

(Though, I have noticed that a shot or two of Basil Hayden’s can improve my synopsis writing. The booze distracts my internal editor, who uses my writing a synopsis as permission to scream at me like a crack-crazed harpy. But fine whisky also sometimes distracts me. Sometimes I get a decent draft of a synopsis. Sometimes I find myself cleaning out a closet. Or writing inappropriate screeds on Facebook. Or napping. It’s not a reliable solution.)

In 2008, I took what’s called Master Class in Oregon. This intense, brain-melting, myth-busting, break-you-down-and-build-you-up workshop taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch was one of the two best workshops I’ve ever attended (and I attend what I consider a lot). One of the things it tantalized us with was that we’d learn to write a synopsis. My expectations were not high for that part.

Kris and Dean gave us lots of tips and a few great sort of templates to help turn 300 pages of story into 2 pages or so of marketing. Good info, but not revolutionary. But then they did something that I didn’t expect (and that also, frankly, pissed me off). They made us take all that useful info and apply it to a novel we hadn’t written. Though we all had novels we very much needed to write synopses for, they wouldn’t let us apply our newfound knowledge to any existing work.

During Master Class, we had to write novel hooks every day (sometimes as many as 5 a day). Think of a hook as the back of a book or the part you might put in a query letter to grab an editor’s attention. It’s less than a page, a few paragraphs, max, that encapsulates your book. Here’s one I wrote in about 5 minutes as I struggled to get 4 hooks done before we met:

Every beach has them

Those girls. Those skinny, perky, young girls, in all shades and the one size.

In Vegas, the beaches are manmade and bow at the feet of giant casinos. Same with the girls. And forty-two-year-old Mere Unger, Manager of Beach Talent at the Oasis megahotel, is their boss.

For the past seven years, Mere has played den mother to a pack of skinny models with spray-on tans and push-up bras. But when one of the girls is found dead, stuffed into the base of an all-you-can-eat buffet cart, Mere learns that while money may not make the world go round, it sure gives Las Vegas one hell of a spin.

The book was called “Beach Bitches,” thanks to my friend Jennifer Baumer, who whipped that title out when I came to her door in a panic halfway into Master Class. I wasn’t sure I could put a swear in the title and was bemoaning this in the common room, when Chris York (one of our teachers) scoffed and said something about not being a wuss and that I should use it. Well, I like Chris’s work very much. And she has one of those voices and demeanors that when she says to do something you do it. So I turned it in.

It went over well. To my surprise, our instructors liked it better than any other hook I’d written. But I still wanted to write a synopsis for a book I’d recently finished. I didn’t want to waste my time playing with something I was never really going to write. Even though we were specifically told not to. I did. And it bombed. I could see how bad it was before anyone had to tell me. All this did was confirm to me that synopses are impossible.

The next night, when we were given another synopsis format, Dean told each of us what hook we had to write a synopsis for. Damn, they’d taken away cheating, those sneaky bastards. I had to write a synopsis for “Beach Bitches.” And I had about 10 hours (including sleep time) in which to do it.

Fine. Fuck ‘em. I’d show them what real shit smelled like on the page. I wasn’t going to waste precious sleep time working hard on something for a book I’d never even write. I sat down and wrote whatever came to my mind. And what happened was exactly what they said would happen, exactly what they had designed to happen. My synopsis, written in a matter of an hour, did not suck. Here it is:

Every beach has them

Those girls. Those skinny, perky, young girls, in all shades and the one size.

In Vegas, the beaches are manmade and bow at the feet of giant casinos. Same with the girls. And forty-year-old Mere Unger, Manager of Beach Talent at the Oasis megahotel, is their boss.

Don’t call her Ma’am.

Sure, there was a day, not quite at the dawn of time, though sometimes it feels that way, when Mere would’ve been one of the queen bitches. But those days have gone the way of shoulder pads and perms. Today, Mere is not feeling so much put out to pasture as she is headed for the glue factory. And it pisses her off.

For the past seven years, following a divorce her husband calls his “trade-up,” Mere has played den mother to a pack of skinny models with spray-on tans and push-up bras. She’s helped her bitches – male and female – through the trials of boyfriends (so so so many boyfriends), booze, and a race toward Botox. She’s the one they come to when the chips are down or the weight is up.

If a bitch has a problem, Mere’s got a solution. No strings attached.

Until one of her girls is found strangled and stuffed into the base of an all-you-can-eat buffet cart, her left hand chopped away and missing. The image of the beautiful twenty-year-old with the snowy skin and honey hair, her makeup still perfect, right down to where the bruises start, her long legs and the one stunted arm, her bikini neatly spirit-glued in place, not even the bow on the top mussed – this is the image Mere carries in her mind like a calling card.

And Mere is going after some answers of her own.

As she starts unraveling not only the murder of a paint-by-numbers “spokesmodel” (may I take your drink, sir? Oh, can you rub some sunscreen on my back? Yes, we do take Diner’s Club. Oops, I think my sarong just slipped.) at one of the biggest megahotels in Vegas, she also finds a world of barter and trade, where headshots are worth the same as casino chips and not everyone can be a high-roller.

Mere follows the path of one dead blonde girl to an exiled New York mob boss with a penchant for Elvis movies and wedding memorabilia, whose own niece is coming up at the cabanas on The Strip. She’s ready to make the leap to the bigs — the sandy beaches of the downtown Golden Towers, top rival of the Oasis.

Mere tracks down a ring of card collectors, as fanatical about the Cabana Cards each hotel/casino puts out about their girls, as any baseball nut or comic book geek. These guys (because it is always and … always males) can recite every bust size at every beach in town. They know the likes and dislikes of Missy at the Towers, the favorite food (as if) of Candy at the Geyser, and they can tell you where Cerenitee had her first ever photo shoot (The Reno Home and Boat Show, May, 2001).

And finally, Mere finds a world of whales and sharks, catered to in every high-roller suite, high-stakes poker room, and VIP lounge in town. These are the men the politicians kneel to, the hotels build underground villas for, and who every girl in town is looking to entertain. These men are willing to pay more for a date than they are for a lay, because it’s all about image, baby.

You’re in Vegas now.

By the time Mere tracks down the high-rolling whale who has taken to collecting more than just the Cabana Girls’ cards, she has discovered the intricate layers of those who are served … and those who are served in Vegas. She’s scratched a surface that is more than skin deep, and she’s carrying out the scars.

Because Mere learns that while money may not make the world go round, it sure gives Las Vegas one hell of a spin.

Beach Bitches is an edgy mystery with a firm grip on snark.

Not only does Beach Bitches targets mystery readers, it may also appeal to those curious about Las Vegas and how it works behind the scenes. With gambling now legal in 48 states, the interest in Vegas – the grand dame of sin – has intensified, spilling over into movies (from Casino to The Cooler to the Ocean’s series) to television (CSI to Heroes) and enough merchandised bit of dice-and-card plastic to fill the Mirage.

Cindie Geddes has been making her living as a writer for the past eleven years, managing and writing for her company, Flying Hand Writing Services. She’s ghost-written nine nonfiction books sold to Warner Books and Wiley & Sons, as well as a few smaller presses. Her more than three hundred articles have appeared in magazines ranging from Nevada Business Journal to Ladies Home Journal. Her short fiction has been published in small press magazines, as well as anthologies, and has led to Geddes’ receiving seven fellowships and grants in her home state of Nevada.

Geddes takes her knowledge of the casino industry, having worked in one herself (though none this lavish, by a long shot) and mixes it with all the frustration and angst deserving a woman of a certain age in a world always screaming for younger, thinner, more, more, more.

But Beach Bitches also gives a nod to all us women who have ever felt frumpy and ignored next to that girl in heels and a swimsuit. Through the eyes of Mere Unger, readers get to see all the glitz, all the glamour, all the ridiculous excess of the fastest growing city in America. And they get to see it in its underwear.

It’s not always pretty.

Now, this is not much like the plot the actual book ended up having (after all this, I had to write the book). Frankly, I like this old plot better, and I may use it if I have the opportunity to write another Bitch book someday. But I can’t use this synopsis/proposal for my existing book. So last week, I ended up having to write a new one in an hour (I am not a master of organization, nor time, let me tell you). I was so happy to have this old one as a starting point. But I had to work in the actual plot. And it sucked (not the plot; the summary of the plot). But not nearly as bad as the others I’ve written, because I had an opening and closing that I could still use. An opening and closing I wrote months before I ever started the book – a book I had never even considered writing until that assignment, in a genre I’ve always considered too difficult for my plot-challenged brain.

I wrote 20-something hooks during Master Class. Four proposals. I want to write all those books now. But if I don’t, if I find myself writing something completely different? First thing I’ll do is write a hook. Then I’ll write a synopsis. Only then will I sit down and write the book.

Synopses still suck, but writing them first decreases that suckage by a lot. Enough that I can save the good bourbon for celebrations. Or inappropriate Facebook screeds. After all, all work and no play … well, you know how that ended.

Cheers!

Category: writing  Tags:  9 Comments
Apr
08

In the last few(ish) years, I’ve taken two very different writing workshops that absolutely changed how I saw my writing. Strangely enough, both were on the Oregon Coast. (Maybe great teachers are just drawn to that end of the country?) But on the surface, the two workshops shared little else in common.

  • One workshop was slanted toward literary writing, the other toward genre.
  • One was taught by writers with relatively few, though impressive, credentials, the other by writers with credits coming out the proverbial wazoo. And, yes, their credits are also impressive.
  • One was relaxed and encouraged free time and seeing the local sites, the other was high-stress and encouraged staying put and writing more than I ever thought I could.
  • One was filled with cheerleading and encouragement, the other was tough love with a fair dash of you-can-do-it thrown in.
  • One emphasized in-depth group-critique, the other … did not.
  • One was about writing as art, the other about writing as a career.

But they also shared some pretty important facets.

  • Both made me feel exhausted and rejuvenated at the same time.
  • Both made me question much of the advice I’d previously heard.
  • Both required me to trust myself.
  • Both reminded me that I need more confidence in my writing.
  • Both required new writing each day.
  • Both required reading of each other’s work.
  • Both discouraged (to the point of effectively forbidding) rewriting.

It’s that last point that often raises hackles when I talk about it.

And, to be honest, I got a little hackled at both workshops, even the second one, despite having already come to believe that rewriting was over-rated a few years earlier at the first one.

So, let me break down what I learned – twice.

1) It’s way too easy to polish the magic out of one’s prose, to make it sound just like everyone else’s. To kill off a unique voice before it even has time to sing.

2) It’s way too easy to spend years rewriting or worrying about rewriting (as I have) a book that may very well be quite good already. We, as writers, are terrible judges of our own work. Plus, that’s time that could’ve been spent writing something new.

3) The road to improvement (as in big, tectonic changes, the kinds that shake up our mental landscapes and leave them forever changed) lies in writing, not rewriting.

4) Thinking there is no option but rewriting can prevent us from just starting over and running at a story from a brand new angle and finding what works.

5) Rewriting too often just tries to force new stuff around old stuff and ends up creating a big ol’ Bride of Frankenstein whose head threatens to fall off just because of unhooked accessories.

6) The feeling of progress that comes with rewriting again and again can be misleading. The rewritten parts often feel like they are better just because they’re new.

Now, this doesn’t mean you just fill 300 pages of crap and stick it in the mail. Working on a piece as you go is not necessarily the same as rewriting. Some people put things in as they figure things out, some take them out. These folks can work forward, backward and sideways as they go. I can’t. (Yet.) I have to write the story before I even know what the hell happened, what the themes are, what the character motivations are, etc. So I need to rewrite. But not in the way I used to think of it.

I’ve learned (and will likely have to relearn) not to rewrite for polish. I don’t want to smooth off all the rough edges of a piece, robbing it of all those accidental facets that my subconscious puts in. Currently, I am having fun going in the other direction — I’m not a polisher of rough edges. I’m a carver of rough edges. But, still, I need to constantly remind myself not to change things just because they’re different (and therefore new and fresh and exciting), not beat my grammar and punctuation into such submission that I deny them their ability to add nuance, pacing and a sort of playing with the reader. I need to remember to only change those things I KNOW make the story better. Like when I had a character that was male the first half of the book and changed her to female the second half? Yeah, there’s some rewriting needed. But when I wrote myself into a corner and came up with a kickass way out that might not be exactly fitting to my genre? Leave it. When my character swears because it suits her and I start worrying about whether or not that will offend people? Leave it alone. When I want to change from first person to third because … and I realize I have no real reason other than it would be different and fun, leave it alone.

Now, if an editor tells me to make changes, I’m on it! But because I know I can’t generally judge my work (a point graphically proven in the second workshop) I’m better off trusting my gut and then waiting to see what an editor says rather than trying to read minds.

I’ve also learned the value of a trusted first reader. If my first reader (or second or third, depending on where I am in the process) points out problems (and I agree), I change them. But as I’m changing, I don’t go through and second guess everything else I wrote. (OK, I do, but I’m trying really hard not to.)

It’s not about rewriting or not rewriting, but rather about trusting ourselves as writers. Letting our subconsciouses do the heavy lifting they want to do. It’s about felicitous accidents and Freudian typos and misremembered clichés and sudden bursts of inspiration — all which come into question too often in the rewriting phase because that’s when we kick the creative side of the brain into timeout and let the critical part come in with the shrill voice of authority better left to mall cops and low-level bureaucrats.

Of course, knowing the basic rules of grammar and writing is paramount if one wants to break them. And all that cool stuff that happens with the subconscious happens because of a whole lot of knowledge that has become second nature. I think.

Now, my views do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else (on anything. Ever. Really.). In fact, this may not even be what any of the workshop leaders wanted me to get out of the workshops. It may not be what other attendees got out of it. It may all be the colorful meandering of my own imagination. I may not have been in Oregon at all – no, wait, I’m sure on that last bit. There was this ocean and sand and clouds …

Look, I'm turning my back on the ocean! I'm a wild woman.

Category: writing  Tags:  6 Comments
Jan
21

Character emotion is a tricky thing. Not enough and readers won’t invest; too much and you lose realism. I gave a tendency toward the former – emotionally distant characters that create emotionally distant readers (especially in long works). It’s something I’ve been looking at – been looking at for a few years now, actually.

My first angle was to look at whether or not I feel anything when I write. There was a period when I didn’t. It took time and practice, but I started to feel more. I began to connect to my characters and my stories. I laughed, I cried, and, yeah, they became a part of me.

But strangely, the more I felt about my characters and stories, the less emotion I actually put on the page, as if the distance kept me safe. I was creating a distance between me, the writer, and the reader. That created a distance between the reader and the story. In short, I was having a hard time making readers care.

Sometimes I could even see it for myself. So I would go back through and add more of what makes me feel. I would add sensory details, atmosphere, setting with carefully constructed details to evoke my own emotions in hopes of doing the same to the reader.

But it didn’t always gel with readers. They could see the emotion I was trying to evoke in them, but it wasn’t real. It was more of a series of cardboard signs like the kind held up at the airport. One character would hold up “Happy” in hopes it would come along. Another had “Angst” scrawled on a piece of cardboard. Each just a sign to connect the reader with the emotion. But the distance was too big to be bridged by a cardboard sign.

I started working on collapsing that distance more. I took some workshops. One workshop leader said the emotion was there. She could see it. She found it effective. But she wasn’t casually reading. She was reading every word, thinking, analyzing. She was reading to find out what I needed to be working on. She wasn’t reading for story but for teaching.

I don’t think most readers read every word of a story. Especially in emotionally heated moments where the action is moving quickly. They’re rushing ahead to see what’s happening. If I’m sort of hiding the emotion in the scenery it might not be noticed. Subtlety probably isn’t my best tack

And yet, I couldn’t figure out how to come at it head-on. What, do I just write, “She was sad. Really really, really sad, the kind of sad that can only be expressed in banal repetition.” That seemed vulgar to me. And it cheated readers like my workshop leader.

But somewhere over the last few weeks I’ve noticed a tendency I have in my own life that might be the key to this problem. I’ve been told that I seem to have it all together. I kind of hear that a lot. Whatever ‘it’ is, I’ve got it rounded up and singing cowboy odes to the lonesome prairie. But this is, of course, ridiculous. I know that I leak insecurity and near-panic all over the place. But I hide it in the details. I say the together things but I throw in details I hope someone sees. But when people are concerned and ask you straight out, they’re listening to your words, not analyzing and dissecting for contradiction. They just want an answer.

I think it’s that way in fiction. In a highly emotional scene, the reader is asking questions. With those questions asked, the reader is listening for the answer and believing the words in the quote marks or coming from the character’s mind, not trying to weigh those words against sensory detail or scenery description. Yes, there is room for contradiction and nuance and complexity, but not for hiding. Big difference.

I don’t need to hide emotion from readers; they can take it. More than that, they want it. Now to figure out how to give it to them – one revelation at a time. Just like life.

Category: writing  Tags:  6 Comments
Jan
15

I want to be one of those people who can look back and smile at rejection letters.

Rob Sabo commented on my last post: “Perspective: The first Harry Potter book was rejected 12 times. I think I read somewhere that Jo Rowling is the first billionaire author.”

This got me to thinking. I love stories of failure before success. Especially ones where hindsight makes that success seem inevitable. I like to fantasize about the day when I will speak proudly of my rejections as an audience gasps and titters in shock that anyone could have overlooked my obvious brilliance. I will be the example writers give to each other for reassurance when they are feeling down about their own rejections. One writer will say, “I might as well just quit. Another rejection. That’s nine! I should just take the hint and quit.”

And the supportive writer friend will smile wryly and say, “Oh no. Did you know that Cindie Geddes was rejected 500 times before she sold her first novel? And even then, you know The Bad Parts (at which point the friend will roll her eyes and snort, because everyone knows that book) was rejected nineteen times and she just gave up! It only got published because her friend Wolf made her send it out again on a bet.”

The dejected writer will shake her head and laugh, and she will feel better. And she will send out her story – again and again and again, determined to not give up until she at least sends out as many times as Cindie Geddes did.

Yeah, these are the kinds of fantasies have. I am a very exciting woman.

But since it’s going to be at least a few months until I reach the kind of success that will make this fantasy a reality, I figured I could list a few real-world examples* we can offer one another during those inevitable dark times.

  • James Joyce’s Dubliners: rejected 22 times. The publisher only printed 1250 copies. 379 sold the first year. Joyce had bought 120 of them. And, yeah, he did OK.
  • To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Theodor Geisel writing as Dr. Seuss: rejected by 29 publishers.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig: rejected 121 times.
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach: 140 times
  • William Saroyan built a pile of rejections 30 inches high (equaling around 7000 rejections) before he sold his first story.
  • M*A*S*H by Richard Hooker collected 21 rejections.
  • Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries: rejected 17 times.
  • Carrie (by Stephen King) was rejected 30 times.
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams: 26 rejections.
  • Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis: 15 no-thank-yous.
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen: 140 NOs.
  • Frank Herbert’s Dune: nearly 20 rejections.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: 26 maybe-next-times.
  • Alex Haley once told me (yes, in person, and I didn’t even faint, though I did stutter when I asked him about rejection) he had been rejected 800 times before selling anything. 800. Even I haven’t hit that many. But C.S. Lewis has. He was also a member of the 800 club.
  • James Patterson saw 26 rejections for his first novel.
  • William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: 20 not-right-for-us(es).
  • Kathryn Stockett stopped counting rejections after she received 45 on her best seller The Help.
  • Gone with the Wind brought Margaret Mitchell the sting of 38 rejections.
  • Ray Bradbury has been rejected more than 1000 times and STILL gets rejected.
  • Judy Blume submitted for 2 years straight with nothing but rejections.
  • Stephenie Meyer gathered 7 or 8 rejections for Twilight, including one that came in after she’d gotten a three-book deal from Little, Brown.
  • The Dairy of Anne Frank was passed over by 16 publishers.

And if you’re like me and feel better knowing that current rejection does not negate future success, check out this site of quotes from actual rejections of some of the best writing ever. http://schulerbooks.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/recent-article-30-famous-authors-whose-works-were-rejected-repeatedly-and-sometimes-rudely-by-publishers/

*Disclaimer: I didn’t fact check any of these. Some I saw in magazines, some I read on the Web, some I heard … somewhere.

Category: writing  Tags:  7 Comments
Jan
07

I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about rejection, considering I have so very little in my life. I don’t date (which works well with the whole being-married thing), I’m not out of work and looking for a job (I’m self-employed), I don’t compete in sports, politics or even the lottery. And yet, surveying a bunch of long e-mail threads I’ve had with people in 2009, I see a few subjects popping up again and again. The top 9 are:

9. God

8. Marriage

7. Beauty

6. Age

5. Parenting

4. Money

3. Politics

2. Time

1. Rejections

Yes, the greatest of these was Rejection.

Why?

Well, because I’m a writer. Now, I know there are lots of writers who never ever get rejections –they never submit anything. And I’m sure there have even been some blessed souls who submitted their work and sold it with nary a rejection (before their fellow writers lashed them naked to trees and peeled the skin from their bodies with clam shells, all the while telling each other how very happy we are for their success).

But most of us get our stories rejected. WE get rejected. If you think it doesn’t feel like the same thing, then you’ve never experienced the maddening schizophrenia that comes with the creative brain. Part of our brains always expects Stephenie Meyer-level success. The other part girds its loins (brain loins!) against the onslaught of criticism, belittling, and possible violence sure to come from anyone who sees us attempting to do something so obviously above the level of our meager abilities.

For someone like me, someone who is not naturally imbued with grace and aplomb, rejection is a bitch. She whispers the worst insults in my ear while raising a 2×4 behind my head. And as soon as she’s run out of heart-deadening half-truths to release into my ear like those awful creatures in Star Trek, she raises that board to bludgeon the rest of my ego free of my body. It’d be easier to split me open like an overripe cantaloupe and watch the seeds of inspiration fly chaotically to the dirt.

But I am determined to be a writer. The kind of determined that has stripped most of my ego off in slick strips I can make into shoes to keep me walking onward. My determination is fed by continuous hunger to try to fill all those gaps I can see between the stories in my mind and my ability to bring a story to the page. My determination is massive and undying.

So the only way I’ve been able to keep myself going through hundreds of rejections for my handful of sales is to change how I see rejection. Sure, there’s some delusion in here. A dash of denial. Some whimsy and naiveté dance above the scales that weight my rejections and acceptances. There’s tricks of work and tricks of the mind and tricks of the industry that I juggle when I can. And when I can’t juggle, I drop everything and break out into a scuffy little dance to draw the eyes away from my failures.

All this brings me to 9 ways I’ve come to think about rejection.

  1. It’s the same as having an envelope stamped Return to Sender: Address Unknown. I just sent the wrong piece to the wrong person at the wrong time.
  2. It’s a timing thing. Maybe they just got the same sort of story submitted by someone whose name alone sells copies. It’s not that my story is bad, just that my name is not well known. Yet.
  3. Maybe the editor had a very bad day and can’t see brilliance of any sort. I know I’ve had days when even a sunset pissed me off.
  4. The story is destined for better. If I’d sold some of my stories to the first place I sent them I would’ve missed out on greater sales later.
  5. Maybe I’m not ready for success yet. I’ll just keep sending stories out while I continue to work on making myself a better person, the kind of person who can at least fake grace and aplomb in the face of good reviews and awards.
  6. My karma’s getting dingy. Time to try to help and support other writers.
  7. I need rejections to keep balancing the scales I see in my head. Only when there are enough rejections to tip the scales will I achieve a sale.
  8. The editor is biased against … (insert ridiculous reason here: women, Nevadans, freelancers, bloggers).
  9. The editor is obviously just irretrievably stupid.

Keep in mind I’ve been an editor (nonfiction, though), so I can safely say almost any of these reasons could be true (except 9. I’ve never met a truly stupid editor). And I do actually know that even given these comforting stories I tell myself, it’s still possible that my story simply sucked. But I can’t really know why a story is rejected. And I’m not capable of judging the suckage of my own work any more than I can see anything but brilliance and charm in my son.

So regardless of the reason for rejection, all I can do is keep sending the work out.

    Everything else is just me telling myself stories.

    Category: writing  Tags:  8 Comments
    Cindie Geddes

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