Friday, February 01, 2013

On Rejection

Fifteen years ago I had just written my first novel, and it had been universally rejected by every major and minor publishing company in the industry. It had lost contests. It had been spurned by agents. Fed up, I wrote my own rejection letter in response to one particularly patronizing editor.

I just found it.

Thankfully, I never sent it. But boy, did it feel good to write. I'm slightly mortified now, but it's a good reminder to me that I am a fighter when it comes to my writing. I always have been. I am also reminded that tenacity, a sense of humor, and hard freaking work are all necessary if you want to survive as an artist of any kind.

Dear ___________,

Thank you for submitting your rejection for my perusal and consideration. Regretfully, your work has not advanced to the final round: "Having a Significant Impact on My Writing Endeavors."

I know that this letter brings disappointing news, but please don't be discouraged. All the rejections received are very worthwhile projects and deserve to be further developed. Because I have such a high volume of rejections submitted in response to this manuscript, I cannot pass along to you an individual evaluation. What I can do, however, is give you an idea of why your rejection did not advance.

Rejections that stayed at the semi-finalist round ("Minimal Impact on My Ego and Sense of Self-as-Writer) had problems in the following areas:

1. Dialogue - None. Most rejections lack this altogether. Diatribe and dialogue are not the same thing which brings me to...

2. Point of View - The point of view is unclear here. Is it truly the voice of _________ or some other greater entity? One does not get a sense of who the narrator is here. What are her motives, desires, fears?

3. The Establishment of Plot - There is no hook here. What compels the reader to read on? From the second sentence, the reader knows that rejection is inevitable. Perhaps a little mystery might render this rejection more interesting.

My suggestion to you, in order to achieve your rejecting goals, is to continue to read as much as you can, paying close attention to the craft and then finding ways to decimate it. Also, if you don't have one, please locate a classic novel and tear it to shreds. (Like the ones you read in high school or college.) You can look at thrift stores, garage sales, or used bookstores. Study these relics and learn ways to articulate your critical sentiments in the nastiest of ways.

I know this sounds a bother, but when I see new critics follow this advice, the overall improvement in their criticism is quite noticeable and their chances for success increase and, in time, success is attained.

As always, I applaud you and all of your fellow critics for rejecting me. Successful rejection takes time, courage, dedication, and discipline. Soon you will have a significant impact on the egos and drives and passions of many a young writer.

Please know that I recognize your efforts and offer you encouragement to keep moving forward.

T. Greenwood


matthew paul said...

Your my favorite author period. I am waiting to read the only book I have left to read of yours..(I started with Grace and then read all the rest in order!)...”Glittering World.” For some reason it just sits in my nightstand drawer like a little present waiting to be opened. I can't rationalize the reason why I won't start it other than it will mean that I won't be able to transport into the world(s) you create until your next book..(later this year we get one!! state in an earlier blog!) I just keep staring at the beautiful cover and wondering what world comes to life inside….

.....Just wanted you to know that I am such a fan of your writing. I am literally transported into your books by your unique writing style...your description, your dialogue, and the emotion you create.

I cannot wait for the next book. Thank you so much for the energy and time you put into your written page(s). I can’t say it enough how I really feel/empathize with your characters. I feel actual emotion when I read your books unlike any I have ever had before while reading. I cry, I laugh, I get mad, I get so many emotions…
….hmmmmm after writing all this….I think am actually going to start GW tonight.

Thanks for listening,
An avid fan from Oregon.
Ps… Thanks for writing about the books you read..I have “where you are” on its way!..sounds like an interesting book.

T. Greenwood said...

What a kind note to wake up to this morning. Thank you. And I hope you enjoy This Glittering World :)