Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rejection Letter Nightmares

Every agent, editor, or publisher has them.


They start off with a vision of an ever-growing slush pile of manuscripts, emails, letters, chat messages, or dentist chair encounters, that involve some-usually poorly conceived-idea, story, novel, poem, that arrives with the plaudits of  "my friends and family all say this would make a great book."

The pile shifts slightly off center as you approach it. Carefully, precisely, you pull one or two from the top of the tower only to find that through some paranormal process you'd prefer not to think about, the two are replaced by four more that quickly morph into twelve. You step back cautiously, never turning your back on the mass, fearful that it will tumble down and bury you alive.

You sit down to peruse your selections, find them noxious, and repeat the process. No matter how many you take from the stacks, they just keep climbing ever closer to the limits of your 12 foot ceilings. You do this again and again, until soon you have achieved nothing more that acquiring a new pile on the floor. This one sits next to your chair. And as awful as it is that you didn't find the gem you were hoping might be lurking in that evil-smelling mess threatening to take over the entire room, nothing is worse than what faces you next - writing those rejection letters.

All of this was brought to mind by a recent Forbes article titled: Why You Shouldn't Be a Writer. It was full of all the usual things, but one of them struck me as the perfect wording for what I'd like to send out to the worst of the wanna-be authors.

" . . . here’s the question you should be asking yourself: Can I write? Not literally. Not physically. Not technically. Anyone can do that. Can you make the words sing? Does your prose have that certain something? Are you gifted at showing not telling, or telling not showing, or creating an entire world that didn’t exist before that is born again when someone else reads your work?
Probably not. Most people cannot write well. This is a fact. This is something that is true. This is a hard thing to accept. Most people cannot write well, and that includes you, and what we can conclude from this is that the person we are talking about here who cannot write well is, in all likelihood, you."

Now of course I would never send something so cruel out into the world . . . but a girl can dream, can't she?

*Click HERE to read the entire Forbes article.
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