Writer At War – 2

For Christmas I received the book THE ART OF WAR FOR WRITERS by James Scott Bell.  Fiction writing strategies, tactics, and exercises. 

Below is my reaction to Phyliss Whitney’s statement regarding rejection, disappointment and discouragement as quoted on Page 14:

I expect my work to be rejected.  Not because I don’t think it’s any good.  On the contrary, I do think it’s good.  I write the kind of books I would love to read.  I think my characters are pretty memorable.

When the Samhain editor told me she wanted to buy A MONTH FROM MIAMI I e-mailed her back basically asking her if she was sure.  I wondered at the time if she even knew what she was doing because she said she loved it.  I’d never heard that from an editor before.  Turns out she’s a fantastic editor who did nothing but improve my book without forcing me to change much of anything.  Do you have any idea what a thrill it is for a writer to see the book she wrote in print?

A well-respected editor at a traditional New York publisher recently rejected the first book in my screwball urban fantasy series even though she said she’d really like to buy it.  When she was with a smaller house, she could take chances on something like this.  But as part of a bigger house, she had less editorial control and couldn’t. 

Was I bummed?  You betcha.  Because I’d researched her and I thought she’d be the perfect editor for this series and she seemed really interested and enthusiastic about it.  But it wasn’t meant to be.  If she’d made me an offer, I’d probably have had a heart attack.

You have to be realistic because everyone is writing these days.  Everyone with a computer, everyone with any tiny iota of talent, has decided to write books.  And a lot of those books slip through the very big cracks in the publishing world and get published.  I’ve said it before and I’ll keep saying it.  There’s a lot of mediocrity in the publishing world.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  But it doesn’t prevent me from writing the best book I am capable of at the moment and submitting it.

You might think there’s a lot of genius involved in writing fiction, but if that were true, it doesn’t explain why there’s so much writing that just isn’t that good.  Unless there’s a new definition of genius of which I’m not aware.

So, while I may not be exactly crushed by the next rejection, I’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the next acceptance.

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