Friday, 7 May 2010

Improvements & Editing

Good morning (by four minutes only) and sorry for the tardy post. I'll dash off and make the teas and coffees as you're reading through this post. Every Friday I drop my daughter off at the bus stop and then come straight home, turn on the computer and look at Novel Racers. Today, which of course had to be the day I'd forgotten it was my turn to do the Coffee Morning, I didn't. So typical. I'd overslept and then had an appointment with my hairdresser to make me blonde once more. So apologies from me.

Recently I've had wonderful feedback from a publisher about my manuscript, however they said that although they thought the story, setting and hero ticked all the right boxes, my heroine's reactions were not as believable as they could be and she needed to be a little more likeable. They went on to say that if I tweaked my heroine, I was welcome to resubmit my MS.

Naturally I was disappointed, but immediately set about editing my MS. As soon as I started I could see how my heroine could be improved and definately made more likeable, and now I've finished covering my pages in red ink I've begun amending the novel on the computer and will resubmit it in the next few days.

Whilst, I appreciate this doesn't automatically mean they will want to publish my book, at least I now know that I've had another chance to improve it substantially and nothing has been lost by spending time doing so.

I think the hardest part about writing novels is that unlike an exam where as long as you learn the subject thoroughly you can pretty much ensure you'll pass, with writing I know that I could keep working at it until I'm 110 and still possibly never be published.

So, my question to you is, how do you take rejection and what keeps you going?

15 comments:

Leatherdykeuk said...

I'm sad for a few minutes and mope, then shrug, smile and work on something else for a bit. I've lost count of rejections now.

Ellie said...

I've never actually submitted anything, so I don't know! That said, I know I have a pretty thick skin for constructive criticism because of my job, so I think taking feedback would be fine. Outright rejection though, who knows?!

I guess that means that my only experience of rejection would be when I rejected my WIP after I read through the first draft! It became clear that I had HUGE holes in the plot, but I've sorted a lot of them out now and am re-writing at the moment, so I'm hoping to get better feedback from myself the second time around...

JJ Beattie said...

I'm in the same position as Ellie. I expect I will cry and feel wounded and think about never writing again until I realise I can't stop...

Rowan Coleman said...

We have to be able to take rejection and especially if it come with constructive, pertinent advice, even embrace it. Its hard, it hurts, it still happens even after you've been published, but part of being a writer is learning that you are not always right, sometimes you are nearly right, and sometimes you are dead wrong. And sometimes you are right and everyone else is wrong. Its figuring out which is which that is the problem....

Fia said...

Debs,you say you were disappointed but I say a huge well done!

I've had my share of rejections. The only one that upset me said,'What makes you think anyone would want to read this?'

Karen said...

Fia, that's HORRIBLE! That sort of comment is unprofessional and I'd ignore it :o(

I'm STILL editing now and I have a bloomin' agent!! It's hard to take when you're told, make this better, tighter, funnier when you thought your original ms was ready to send out, but you have to trust that the professionals know what they want and that your story will be better for it. Bascially you need to develop the skin of a rhinoceros!

Good luck with your re-sub :o)

Amanda said...

I think I would be thrilled that the agent would like to see your revised MS - WELL DONE!

Rejections are awful! I think I've been conditioned to keep on going with tiny snippets of success here and there!

Fia, that's unbelievable - how horrid. Your writing is FAB - I do hope you ignored them!

Debs said...

Thanks for the good wishes.

Fia - what a dreadful thing for someone to say. I agree with Amanda, your writing is good.

Denise said...

Haven't yet got to the stage of sending anything to get rejected (really must get on with it!) but I have chatted to a couple of agents at the Winchester writers' conference who'd seen my first chapter. Both of them offered constructive criticism fortunately, since I've seen people leave that room in tears...

Not sure how I'm going to take it, once the time comes, but I think I'm sufficiently determined to take a lot of knock backs.

Well done on the feedback, that's wonderful and no kind of rejection at all!

Sylvia Phoenix said...

I'm surprised that a few novel racers haven't submitted anything. I thought you were all well-seasoned in this regard. I've only submitted one story so far - rejected. I didn't feel too bad about it as it seems this is the norm for amateur writers. I still have a lot to learn, including how to go about editing.

Your feedback sounds very positive, Debs.

SueG said...

Rejections - we all have to get them. They're the only way to get published. As they say, you can't win if you don't play. But for a long time I collected stories of well-known authors who had 47 people reject their novels, or scathing rejections of now-classic books, etc. Then I was able to believe that just like there's a buyer for every house, there's a buyer for every book. Stubborn self-belief and perseverance help a lot :-)

Flowerpot said...

Good news Debs on that info from agent. Sorry I'm late - been away all weekend. As to how to deal with rejection - grit my teeth and get on with it. But I am fortunate in having a lot of very encouraging comments from agents which help me believe in my writing. It is so hard though and some days are worse than others, but it's part of the job.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Debs - well done, and Fia *ouch* hope you tossed that one straight where it deserved to be, in the bin.

Being able to bounce back from rejection is what separates the people who always thought they had a book in them from the writers who won't (or can't) give up. Maybe it's a form of insanity or just sheer determination :) Good luck with your redraft - rejection (or in this case more 'constructive crit') is worth a lot, and so much more valuable than a standard rejection letter.

LilyS said...

I got a rejection on Friday. Felt sorry for myself for the next hour, then had some wine. I blogged about it too and got some lovely comments which really made me feel a lot better. Good luck with the edits

Bluestocking Mum said...

Well done Debs.

I've not got to agent/publisher stage yet either but I've just received a critique from RNA New writers scheme and I can't wait to get to work on the changes! The main thing is they didn't tell me I couldn't write or no one would ever want to read my work. Maybe I'm deluded, but what keeps me going is the inner belief that I can write (okay, maybe not to the standards of some, but I'm improving all the time) and one day, just one day, I might get published. That's enough for me.

I think that resilience and tenacity are as important attributes as creative talent if you want to become a writer and get published.