No, I haven’t had my partial rejected. I really, really hope it won’t be but nothing is ever certain when it comes to publishing. However, if it does get the big ole R, I hope people will remind me of this post because I’m currently trying to get my head around loving my rejections.
This is something I do when the wait is getting to me and I’m feeling down about my writing, and wishing I’d known more with the manuscript that was so nearly there but didn’t end up making it.
Why? Surely there’s nothing happy making about a rejection? Actually, the first rejection I got was happy making and started me on the road to taking my writing seriously. It was from the Instant Seduction Contest and the wonderful editor told me I had potential, that my voice was Modern Heat, and that though they didn’t want to see any more of my contest entry (just as well since I hadn’t written it), they’d be happy to look at anything else I had. Well, I was over the moon! Yes, I had potential! I expected to hear nothing at all from this contest and I was so thrilled. So off I sent my next partial.
Along come rejection number 2. I was unsurprised since I’d already by that time (having actually read some Modern Heats!) figured out it wasn’t a goer. But still, they told me what was wrong with it and they wanted more. So off I sent another partial, while at the same time, entering the Feel the Heat contest. This was where things got serious. I got more feedback from FTH. I began to learn about internal conflict. Still hadn’t got it though, my entry was rejected (rejection number 3). But they saw potential in the other partial that I’d send before the contest. I was asked for the full.
So I sent away my first full and back it came with revisions. My heroine needed conflict. I was learning, but I struggled with that. It was so hard. I hadn’t learned that rewriting needed to be done, that adding conflict would change the character, that once you change the character, the plot might change too. And proper conflict still eluded me. I still didn’t understand. I got a second lot of revisions but the conflict jigsaw still wasn’t complete. I still didn’t get it.
Rejection number 4 was very hard. The ms was so nearly there but I didn’t have the knowledge I needed to make it work and the editors knew it. But now I could see why it hadn’t worked. It was becoming clearer. Thinking I had it, I dived into another partial. Yes, surely I had the conflict now. But I was still thinking of the conflict as a thing separate from my characters. I wasn’t looking at my characters as whole people, just as receptacles for the conflict I’d thought up.
So back came rejection number 5. Even harder than rejection number 4 in many ways. But the one thing about it was that finally I was beginning to see my problem. And it made me very determined to learn how to fix it. With rejection number 5 also came advice from Michelle Styles about synopses and about the actions and reactions characters take. Another piece of the jigsaw fell into place.
This time I sent off just a synopsis, after much hard work. Didn’t get a rejection this time but a warning – think about your characters. You are not telling the story of a particular conflict, you are telling the story of two people. So who are these people? Why are they the way they are? Why are we even interested? And more light dawned. Conflict and character suddenly became much clearer. I felt I’d taken another big step forward. So finally I wrote the partial and sent it off.
I’d love to end this post with a full request but I can’t since I don’t know yet. However this time I’m taking nothing for granted. I may still be missing a part of the jigsaw, one I can’t see yet. But one thing I’m sure of, if that very first ms had been accepted, I would be struggling to write a second. I have learned SO much in the past year though the rejections I’ve had that I truly don’t know if I would have had a second accepted. The rejections have been horrible, gut-wrenching and depressing. But they’ve also been amazingly helpful, encouraging and focussing, and I would not have learned all that I have if I hadn’t had them.
Of course if this partial is rejected, I will give up. Okay? Cause one can only love rejections so much. 😉
(Yes. I’m kidding. So far).