Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Rejection, Salieri and Ann M. Martin

Many apologies for the lack of post yesterday. I've been so stressed out and run down that I went home early from work, feeling like a brain-dead slug, and slept for three hours straight.

And then I got up and read the second Twilight book for another three hours, occasionally screaming "He's a werewolf, you moron!" at Bella, who is in fact the densest protagonist in the history of ever. I'm about halfway through and just glad she's at least stopped whining and pining wussily after Edward. Don't even get me started on a feminist interpretation of Bella because we'd be here for days, and I don't even consider myself a feminist. How a book with such a moronic main character can be so...utterly engrossing and un-putdownable is beyond me.


I wasn't going to post about things like this, but here it is: I got a rejection on a partial last night. It wasn't the end of the world because it's only my second rejection (seasoned writers are rolling their eyes now). The rejection letter couldn't have been nicer...well, unless it hadn't reject me.

But after I read the rejection e-mail, I found myself doing what I always do: thinking I should get cracking on a new novel because of course the rejection was absoltuely right and the book's not the best thing ever written, and I completely understand that, and I promise I'll query next time with something much better...

I said as much to JB when I told him about the rejection, smiling my brave smile and waving my hand like it didn't matter. He gave me a look and didn't push it.

Does anyone else feel like this? I try to be the kind of writer who takes constructive criticism and rejection gracefully and humbly. But sometimes it goes maybe too far. I mean, my book is not crap. And most people get tons of rejections before they get a 'yes' from an agent, everybody knows that.

But a part of me wants to make excuses for the rejection, to distance myself from the rejected work by making it clear I know it might deserve to be rejected and I don't suck as an author.

Have you ever seen Amadeus? I think about that movie when I think about my writing and usually feel more like this guy:

than this guy:

Salieri (first photo) was a good composer. And he was so good he could instantly recognize and appreciate musical genius. But he also recognized that he himself was not a musical genius and never ever would be anywhere near as good as Mozart, no matter how hard he tried.

Writing is a daunting process when you read truly good books and realize you may never be able to even approach writing something that good. At least, that's how I feel.

Then I have to tell myself that cheesy line about how if the only birds who sang were the best ones, the forest would be a quiet place, blah blah blah.

Besides, how much enjoyment did I get out of reading books about Nancy Drew or the Babysitter's Club? LOTS. And there are times now when I'd much rather read a Shopaholic book than George Eliot, whom I love.

So rejection stings. Suck it up, AC. There's plenty more where it came from. Besides, wouldn't the world be a worse place if Ann M. Martin hadn't decided to be a writer? I think it would.


shannon said...

Lots of love and support to you. I think you're fabulous no matter what, and I still want to read your novel. :)

Justus M. Bowman said...

Hmm...I'm not yet to the point of getting a partial rejected. Does it feel better or worse than getting a query rejected?

Bevie said...

Sorry for your rejection, AC. I really am.

Amadeus was a fantastic movie. I felt sooo sorry for Salieri. I know exactly how he feels. I have the artistic desire. The driving need to accomplish. I just lack the talent.

(I'm in "suck it up" mode, too, if you hadn't guessed that yet. [smiles])

AC said...


I don't know. I've only received one flat-out rejection and then the one rejection on the partial. I just started querying a couple of weeks ago.

If pressed, I'd say the partial because it was the very first response I got and I was kinda excited about it--more emotionally invested, I guess.

Lenore said...

Don't they say every rejection makes us stronger? Hang in there :)

Tracy Marchini said...

I think most writers, even the ones that others feel are tremendously talented, don't always feel like their work is magnificent.

And I've found that the query letters that come in proclaiming their piece "the BEST. BOOK. EVER." rarely (if not never) are.

Don't give up on the book, AC - if your first query resulted in a partial request, you're already ahead of the curve! :)

Anette J Kres said...

Just remember that you want an agent that loves your story as much as you do. So it's okay for that one agent to say no, because they might not have been the best fit for you anyway. Hopefully they gave you some tips in the midst of the rejection. :) Keep trying, girl!

Captain Hook said...

Hugs and sympathy on the rejection, but I hope you keep plugging away.

Jill Wheeler said...

Yes. Yes. Yes. Got a rejection this morning that said they loved the idea but the execution wasn't strong enough for the crowded YA market. Almost deleted my novel. :(

Crimogenic said...

Rejection is a big part of the process. And they suck, plain and simple. But you keep on going, editing and writing, and plugging away at the next novel, which will be better than the first because your knowledge and skills grew as you were writing the first novel. Keep at it, kiddo.

Rickelle said...

Well I obviously know nothing about writing a novel which is so impressive in and of itself. Just the fact that you composed such an elaborate, detailed story is so impressive to me. But I do know that often times when I design something, I eventually hate it. I know every little detail of it and I've figured out everything that's wrong with it. But you have to block that out. And you can't let rejection get to you. Easier said than done, I know! But, obviously, you are a great writer. Look at how many of us are flocking to read your highly entertaining blog! Keep your chin up! You'll be getting floods of more positive letters in no time!

Davin Malasarn said...

I definitely know how you feel. I've just started querying myself. Even before I sent out queries I started doubting myself and saying, "Maybe I should wait and query with my second novel, which is bound to be a lot better."