Tuesday, January 03, 2017

More grist for your hamster wheels

Following up on the "How Far Did You Read" post on 12/15/16, here are some answers to questions in the comment column:

Thank you for the helpful - if devastating - reality-check statistics. But oh Lord, they make for depressing reading. So, of the eleventy-zillion queries you got this year (which is pretty much over), you requested about 50-odd fulls. Then

> of the 50+ manuscripts I've read this year (so far) I read all the way to the end on about five

and the ending of one of those

> left me screeching with frustration.

This leads me directly to my question [which feels like biting down on a sore tooth that you KNOW you should just leave alone]: Assuming the screechy one fails to eventually pass muster (and I know that's not by any means a foregone conclusion) it would leave you with four submissions that you've read to the last page.

Can you give us any idea as to how many of these four manuscripts you're likely to accept? Gosh, it's getting dark in these woodlands.

At the end of the year, I requested  51 manuscripts and I offered rep on one, and the author signed with me. Her book hasn't sold yet.


I have a follow-up question for Janet: On what percentage of rejected fulls do you provide at least some feedback? Feedback could be anything from a simple "I got bored and stopped reading on page 7" (which I agree with Robert Ceres is super-useful) to a more detailed critique of what is and isn't working.

Almost all. And one thing I've learned to do is specifically tell the writers it's ok to ask follow up questions as long as it's not along the lines of "what branch of the Dunderhead family are you from?"

I think one of the biggest changes I've made in how I practice my trade is soliciting communication from queriers/writers.  Hearing their questions, seeing what they're worried about, getting their responses to my comments has been an incredible source of information for me. 

When I first started in this biz, authors were told never to reply to query rejections at any stage. Sit down, shut up, be grateful you got your query/manuscript read.  To say this led to some feelings of resentment is to say the Titanic ran into an ice cube.

I'm not sure when or how I got the idea to ask for responses. I think you blog readers helped me see the value of it first. 

I will say I think it's made me a much better agent both for writers I represent and those I don't. I have a much better visualization of that rodent wheel you're on!

This is an interesting question. I put books on the DNF list with some frequency. As others have mentioned, time is in short supply and there's always that next book on the nightstand.
However, a couple of my favorite novels started veerrryy slowly. I'm so glad I hung in there until they grabbed me. One of them, a six-book series, is at the top of my all-time list, and I only learned later that it comes with a companion book to explain the darn thing. I didn't understand what was going on for at least the first 100 pages of the initial book.

So...how in the heck does an agent last long enough to get hooked on some of this stuff?
I don't know about anyone else, but I've read novels all the way to the end that needed a lot of work, but I just had to keep reading.  However, if I didn't understand what was going on, I probably stopped reading. Those kinds of books aren't right for me. I don't like to be confused, but I do like to be surprised.

In fact, I love to be surprised. One of my favorite things when reading is to put the book down just to catch my breath and think "wow, I did not see that one coming!"

The latest book to do that to me is Nick Petrie's new one Burning Bright which I mentioned to ya'll back in September.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

The truth is out, "...the Titanic ran into an ice cube."
News at eleven.

Today I will be a good girl and keep comments to myself. Which means I am taking my own advice.
Think it, say it, do it.

Have a nice day.

Amy Schaefer said...

Being surprised is the best part of being a reader. I find it tough to take off my Critical Reader hat now - I'm forever editing books in my head as I go. Even worse, my family has gotten into the act. No one will watch movies with us anymore, because we are constantly predicting dialogue and plot. I love to hear my kids cheer when we get it wrong and the story goes in an unexpected direction. And when the room is quiet? I know a writer out there has gotten it bang on.

Carolynn, comment forever.

Colin Smith said...

I get the impression most agents will give some kind of personalized respond to a requested full. After all, a) they aren't as common as queries, and b) the agent solicited it, so it seems right that the agent should give some feedback. I agree wholeheartedly with the commenter who agreed with Robert Ceres about knowing when the reader stopped reading. Feedback like that makes rejection a whole lot more palatable.

BTW, one book I felt compelled to finished was Phillip DePoy's forthcoming novel, THE ENGLISH AGENT. I posted a review today on my blog. As you know, I don't usually like to promote my own blog here, but I'm making an exception because Phillip is one of Janet's clients. So check out my review, and then go pre-order a copy! :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Thank you Amy. You know I can't keep my fingers silent
So....the big question is, WHEN are you writing a memoir about you families time at sea?

Lennon Faris said...

Janet, the difference might have included you listening to writers, but I think the MAIN difference is that you care. Caring about people who won't ever necessarily impact your daily life is a trait not everyone has. Thanks for that!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Such great information that my rodent wheel broke clean in two. Gonna need a new one.

So back at work already wanting to turn home to write.

Amy Johnson said...

Ugh. Merely one offer of rep in 2016? Onto my wheel.

Head hung low.
Oh, the woe.
One mere all year.
Where is hope?

What light through yonder window breaks!
Why not I, someone’s one mere this year?
From ice-encrusted branch appears a new leaf.
And renewed hope.

Here's hoping all the agent-seekers here are someone's one mere this year!

Claire AB. said...

Janet, as we all know, you are a superhero among agents!! That you not only comment on requested manuscripts but also encourage a back-and-forth remains a very generous policy in my experience. Over the years, I've gotten mostly form rejections on full requests, and I've noticed a pattern to explain this: it happens with agents who request a lot of manuscripts -- way more than they ever really intend to read. They do this for many reasons, I guess, but it's almost as if some create a second slush pile. Also, there are still plenty of agents out there who won't answer questions. Just last month, I got my most recent form rejection on a partial, and the requesting agent didn't answer a follow-up question (I decided to take the advice given on this wonderful blog and just give it a try -- what's to lose??). Unfortunately, plenty of agents (not all, but plenty) aren't as kind as you are -- that is still a sad fact.

Amy Johnson said...

Colin, One of my requested fulls last year got a form rejection--from an assistant. As a comparison, another got a personalized rejection from the agent herself, with some very kindly offered, encouraging, and much appreciated complimentary comments followed by the basic just-didn't-love-love-love-it-enough... But nothing about how the manuscript could be improved. I'm wondering, though, if not saying how to improve might be wise on the agent's part. Many of agents who have sent me rejections on queries note the subjectivity of the business, and say others might feel differently about the story. Perhaps the subjectivity factor has something to do with the reason some agents don't say how to improve? But I can still see how knowing which page they stopped on would be helpful. Oh, my wheel. How it spins!

Colin Smith said...

Claire AB: Interesting. I can see how those who request a lot of fulls would be less inclined to give a personal response. Are these newer agents trying to build their list? Could it be that more seasoned agents are less likely to request a full, and more likely to personalize the response when they do? Genuine questions--it's been a few years since I was in the query trenches, and I didn't get a lot of requests when I was.

Amy: I'd be happy with an agent simply telling me where they stopped, and perhaps why (bored? offended? something better on TV?). As the writer, I would see it as my job to figure out how to fix it. Any suggestions offered by the agent would, of course, be most welcome. But it would be up to me if I took them on board.

RachelErin said...

Even better than being surprised the first time, is being surprised the second time you read it.

I got one of my favorite reads from 2016 for DD2 for Christmas, and am now enjoying reading it aloud. I've been surprised at least three times in the first quarter of the book.

How can you edit for surprise? And know the surprises are surprising? My WIP surprises surprised me when I thought of them...

Happy New Year everyone!

Amy Johnson said...

Colin, , I should have said the latter rejection on a full didn't say anything specific about what she didn't like (as opposed to my saying how to improve). I'm with you--I wouldn't expect a rejecting agent to tell me what to do to improve--way beyond her job. :)

Timothy Lowe said...

I'd say 60-70% of rejections on my requested fulls were form. Janet's really running a class act - any feedback is wonderful, and hers is pretty detailed. One of the reasons she remains high on many writers' lists (mine included!)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

These statistics are always really interesting. I've gotten a form rejection for a partial before, but it didn't sting too much because somewhere in the midst of querying I realized the novel needed way more work (everything was too 'happy' and the characters needed more conflict).

Amy S. - that's a game for my family too! They'll actually place bets on whether I'll accurately predict plot twists. I wonder if that's just a writer thing.

Cheryl said...

I kind of just need to rant a little here, if no one minds.

I sent a friend two variants on the first 5000 words of my current WIP. He made some good points, confirmed some suspicions I had, that kind of thing, but he missed some (I thought!) major clues I laid out and thus called my main female character a prop for the (non-main) male character when she's (I thought!) obviously the antagonist.

And now I'm back to dithering again, because if I fix the problems I suspected and he confirmed, then I'll have to throw out several of those clues and make it even more opaque. I'd be relying on the next 5000 words to do the work.

I don't usually obsess about openings until the first draft is complete, but this is the opening I'll be sending for critique before the retreat. I want it to work on a basic level and have the critique be for polishing.


Melanie Sue Bowles said...

One of my errands in town yesterday was to stop by the local office supply for my 2017 "At-A-Glance" calendar (I am NOT bitter about that loss, so let's move on). While I was there I noticed the shelves holding all those shiny new keyboards. I paused for just a moment, imagining my life with one. A keyboard with a space bar that doesn't stick. One with the letter N that I don't have to wiggle and punch to make it work. And, oooh, wireless! Wouldn't that be nice.

But my frugal side won out and I kept walking. Then I thought, "No! A functioning keyboard is an investment in my writing." I turned around right smartly, decided which one I wanted and bought it... and it wasn't even the cheapest one.

It's sorta like this blog and Ms. Janet: an investment in our writing. I recently read an article in Writer's Digest about querying. The author stated that "agents are like bloodhounds. They can smell your desperation." Aren't we all lucky that we can bare our heart and soul here and when the Shark smells our blood in the water she never goes for the jugular.

Mark Thurber said...

Great stuff as usual! This blog has done so much to de-mystify the querying (and publishing) process for me. It's great to have rich information even when the statistics seem daunting.

It is disappointing not to receive concrete (even if brief) feedback on a requested full. I'm guessing many agents don't give it in part because they've had bad experiences with queriers not taking it well. The one "advantage" of the "I just didn't love it enough" response is that it's impossible to argue with.

Janet, it sounds like the way you actively solicit communication--and establish ground rules in the process--may actually reduce the problem of unhelpful responses from queriers/writers. (Maybe it also helps to have cultivated a reputation as a scary Shark!)

RosannaM said...

So what a reality check. The statistics are that bad!

And so I am left with the only thing I can control. I can control how much I write, for it is in the doing that the learning happens. I can control the attempting to improve by deconstructing other stories. I can control how relentlessly I submit.

And I can then take myself off to wander the aisles of a bookstore and gawp at all the wonderful, lovely new books and know that the reality is new books are published, so the reality - small though it may be - is that I can become published. After all, barriers are broken through all the time. The 4 minute mile. Scaling Mt Everest. Flight. Who's to say my name can't be on one of those spines? I will watch the words I tell myself. They are powerful. They need to sound like 'yes, you will.'

Quest on fellow Reiders, 2017 has all these empty days of potential in front of us waiting to be filled with our words.

BJ Muntain said...

When folks worry about the 'eleventy-zillion queries' but only 51 full requests, remember this: 90% of those queries will be from people who don't know much about querying or writing or getting feedback. Most people who are out there querying are new writers who just wrote their 'perfect first draft' and want to sell it to make a million dollars. Some will be sending their queries to any agent, regardless of what they rep, so they'll be rejected as "I don't rep YA/science fiction/film scripts".

Those are not our competitors, they are simply minnows in the water. Because we're all knowledgeable of the industry (thanks so much Janet!) and because we're all realistic about our skills and are learning to develop them - and heck, because we're damned good writers - we only have to compete with the other 10% of queries. Thus, 51 fulls requested out of that 10% seems much better odds.

And of those 51 fulls, how many were from writers who honed their opening pages to perfection so the full would get requested... but left the rest of the novel to dangle in its draftiness? Because we're all savvy in the business and know that we need to have the entire novel honed and fine, we'll be among the 5 that get read to the end.

To up the chances of being that 1 offer of rep per year (the 'one mere' as Amy poetically called it), we just need to write a damn good book, polish it, and act professionally using the information we learn here and elsewhere.

Cheryl: Does it have to be obvious right away that your female character is the antagonist? Just something to think about.

Melanie: A decent keyboard *is* an investment in your writing. I hope you got a wireless one - those aren't too expensive, and I no longer have to waste time looking for my keyboard after my feet got caught in the wires and pulled it off the tray.

Claire AB. said...

Colin: As I've witnessed it, agents across the experience spectrum can request a lot of fulls (I see confirmation of this on query tracker). My sense is that the younger ones might do it for the reason you suggest -- they hope to expand their lists and maybe they haven't developed their tastes yet. The more experienced ones, however, seem to request a lot for a bunch of reasons. I hate to say it, but I think many request a full and then just sit on the requests until a hungrier agent filters for them and makes an offer. Yes, they have to rush and read in that instance, but at least the book has been vetted by a peer. If you nudge, those agents are prone to auto-reject -- they know you don't have an offer, so they don't read. And then I've also had the experience of a seasoned agent requesting a full before even reading the three chapters that are part of her submission guidelines! The form rejection that came three weeks later was no surprise. It was, at best, just a rejection of the partial. Anyway, so sorry for the long answer -- hopefully it's helpful! And it's just my experience, of course, albeit over what feels like too many years of querying!

Claire Bobrow said...

Janet, the insights you provide are invaluable. This post is another great example, so thank you. It's pretty fantastic to be able to respond to a rejection with questions (civilized, of course!) - I salute you for giving queriers that opportunity.

I love the thrill of surprise, too. What could be more fun than surprising characters, surprising twists, or surprising language? Or best of all, stumbling upon a book that's been around for decades and somehow you missed it? And then you find it - or it finds you - and it's amazing and wonderful and you think why the heck didn't I know about this book?

Cheryl said...

BJ, it doesn't have to be obvious that she's the antagonist, but it should be obvious that she's more than just an accessory to a character who is actually meant to be an accessory to her. He's just there to get her to the location she needs to be in.

I'm personally appalled to have anyone think I'd make a black woman an accessory to a white man. I need to fix it.

Colin Smith said...

Claire: Thanks for that. I wouldn't be surprised if agents strategize like that. After all, it's a business, and as much as they love their peers, they are in competition for our stories. The take away for us is this: you can't read anything into anything! And that's a tough take away for me, and I suspect many other writers too. After all, we spend our time plotting and planning the lives of our characters. It's hard to switch off when it comes to the real world. :)

Beth said...

Cheryl, in some of my favorite books - the ones that surprised me - the villains seemed to be minor characters at first. That they were easily overlooked and dismissed early on is part of what makes their power scary. Of course, you know best the story you want to tell.

Julie Weathers said...

I restarted the Butt In The Chair thread on Books and Writers, which is a daily prompt to just sit down and write. I usually include a quote about writing or just something encouraging.

Today's was:

If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it's not going to be fired, it shouldn't be hanging there.

Anton Chekhov

Basically, if you introduce something that makes the reader wonder why it's there, you must use it. I have a habit of planting clues and devices throughout my work that come back later as something important. If it doesn't have a purpose, I don't waste valuable real estate.

Back to the topic.

Colin I'd be happy with an agent simply telling me where they stopped, and perhaps why (bored? offended?

Agreed. I wish I'd been more aggressive and asked agents to give me feedback on the fulls they rejected. The southern in me just thinks it's bad manners to be pushy. However, on the last rejection from super agent, he went into detail about what didn't work.

Well, duh. If I'd known this long ago, I could have fix these before I racked up 100+ rejections. There would still be some who pass, but there were a lot who loved the writing and it came close enough to invite me to submit the next work. It might have made a difference.

Carolynn Researchers have discovered evidence now that the Titanic had an uncontrollable fire going for days before it hit the iceberg. The iceberg didn't help, but that probably weakened the hull enough to breach it.


I don't know what the answer is. I don't usually include things that aren't significant. Sometimes I don't realize they are until the boys in the back reveal them later. I am not a meticulous planner.

In one scene I note there's a blue roan horse with three white stockings. This isn't rare, but it isn't common either as roans normally have dark legs. The editor I paid to read, pointed this out and suggested horse people would object to my lack of knowledge about horses. I should change it to a different color horse.

No, I shouldn't. The horse is distinctive. People will know who is coming from a distance. Lovely, here comes the angel of death again on his blue horse.

You can't base your work on the first 5,000 words. 5,000 words is nothing. To be sure, they should be interesting, but you don't have to reveal everything in that first bit. Address the problems and slowly peel away the clues. It's all right if no one realizes she's the antagonist right away.


I'm glad you invested in you. A good keyboard is a essential. In the future, you might check Best Buy online, Tiger Direct, or Newegg. They usually have very good sales on computer accessories. They have good deals on discontinued or just manufacturer specials.

Cheryl said...

Beth and Julie, I get where you're coming from. I love a surprising reveal that was actually there all along. I want my story to build slowly, I like that, but when I'm also being told from various directions that I need to establish tension up front, well, it's a difficult balance. If I don't establish her purpose is the reader left wondering who she is and what the point of those scenes are? Will they quit in disgust?

And if someone's only reading the first 5000, will I be spending a week explaining, no, really, that's a later scene? Seems like a waste of time and energy.

I've already started a third rewrite. I hate doubting my instincts, because I've often written something and then looked back at it later to see patterns, themes, callbacks that I didn't consciously put in. I have to trust that will happen this time, too.

Donnaeve said...

First, from yesterday's post cause I missed it, "Is there anything you're hoping to start, or resume in 2017?" Finish this doggone outline that's been driving me nutso since August. I know I've had 20 iterations of it - maybe more - so I can finally begin this next story.

That in turn is a nice segue to today's post, and the grist mill of worry QOTKU brings up. It's exactly because of worry (among many other things) that I've been ripping apart the same outline for months. Like the waiting, the worry never stops either - no matter where you are on this publication journey.

But then again, I'm the classic worry wart, so it's all good!

Happy New Year, y'all!

BJ Muntain said...

Julie: Not as a criticism, but as a note - Chekhov said that about acts, not chapters. He wrote three-act plays. I only say this because people might think the rifle has to be used soon, but really, it just has to be used before the end of the work. Preferably in an important way.

Cheryl: I wrote a long treatise on tension, the first 5000 words, and reader trust, but I'll try to shorten it.

Tension is a very subtle thing. Tension can be as subtle as someone not liking what someone has said, though they go along with it because - at that point - they don't think it's important enough to worry about. You don't have to beat the reader over the head with tension for them to feel it.

The people who are reading your 5000 words should understand that the 5000 words are barely the beginning, that it's just setting up the rest of the novel (and it isn't the entire setup, either). They should understand that there will be later scenes. You shouldn't have to explain that to them.

However, you do need to be sure that your female character is a fully developed character. You don't have to fully develop her in 5000 words, but that development should come across in those words. Make sure she's a real person. That's the important thing.

You don't have to establish her purpose right away. Just establish that she *has* a purpose. The reader wondering who she is, etc? Those are reader questions, which is what keeps the reader reading.

Enjoy your session with your fellow writers. Remember that this is your novel, not theirs, so whatever you put into your novel will be your own. Take the advice that works with your idea for the novel, and shrug off the advice that just won't work. Look for patterns in the criticisms, and see where you need to fix things, even if you don't fix them the way they suggest. You may have a better idea of a way to fix it. And if you're told you're starting the story too early or too late, listen to that, too - it's one of the most common problems that even experienced writers need to face. Consider all advice, and be objective when you make your decisions as to what to do.

And I've written another treatise. I'm sorry. I hope it's useful.

Joseph Snoe said...

When I get a request for a full, I think I’ll toss “Any feedback would be appreciated” in the transmittal letter.

As far as surprises in our novels, I’ve read, reread, revise, deconstructed, reconstructed, and revised (again) my WIP so many times the only thig that surprises me about it is that I continue to work on it.

One good bit of news is my co-authored Property law treatise after several months in the 14,000 to 30,000 range on Amazon.com finally broke through the top 5000 mark this morning (4,234 currently).

On a sad note, 2017 is off to a surreal start as one of the two most inspirational role models in my life (and to others) died yesterday. A former student of mine (and his) wrote him for Christmas. She sent me his reply:

"Merry Christmas, Luisa. Your gracious love and sweet attitude charm the world around you. May your Christmas be filled with the joy of the Holy Spirit!"

Claire AB. said...

Colin, you wrote: "The take away for us is this: you can't read anything into anything! And that's a tough take away for me, and I suspect many other writers too. After all, we spend our time plotting and planning the lives of our characters. It's hard to switch off when it comes to the real world. :)"

I couldn't agree more on all fronts!

Casey Karp said...

Julie: I'm very fond of that quote (in all of its myriad variations and restatements), but it seems to work backward for me. I often tell people that 75% of my second draft is putting guns on mantelpieces so they'll be there to be fired later.

To the original question, I'd love to get an "I gave up on page XX" response with nothing further. It's very tiring to keep reminding oneself that "I didn't love it enough" more often than not means the fault lies in the query rather than the actual novel--especially as my ratio of rejections to requests is low enough to make that obvious without trying to read agents' minds.

Julie Weathers said...


Julie: Not as a criticism, but as a note - Chekhov said that about acts, not chapters. He wrote three-act plays. I only say this because people might think the rifle has to be used soon, but really, it just has to be used before the end of the work. Preferably in an important way.

He's known to have said this at least three times, probably more. Once in a letter to A. S. Gruzinsky where he discusses putting a gun on the stage in the first act and then saying it must go off by the final act. Another time it's mentioned slightly differently but essentially the same by another author. Then again he says the quote I put up about putting the gun on the wall in the first chapter.

Chekhov also wrote wonderful short stories, I know I have them, novellas, and was a prolific satirical writer.

roadkills-r-us said...

Melanie- good for you for investing in you! It's good to make sure that nothing gets in the way of getting the words out. In fact, some things can act like turbo boost. That sounds like one of them.

Roseanna & BJ would make a good tag team motivational speaker pair for a writers' conference.

As for surprises, if my WIP doesn't surprise me a few times, it's probably in trouble.


Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin I have come to the conclusion that you are a SUPER/reader/writer/commenter/reviewer/father of six/ and mortgage payer.

Julie I just read about the Titanic fire. The whole thing, so sad.

When reading my own stuff, when I start skimming, (yawn),I know I lost my reader.

CynthiaMc said...

Melanie - I did the same thing a while back with a lap desk. I wasn't conscious of ever wanting one, had never even looked at them. If anyone had ever ales me if I wanted one I would have said no. I started to leave Barnes and Noble one day and a little voice in my head said "You need that lap desk over there." I didn't think I did so I walked away. By the time I got to the exit that voice was screaming "Go back and get that lap desk." I did, and I have used it every single day since.

Janice Grinyer said...

Herbert's Dune was one of those series that I needed to stop and contemplate a sentence's double meaning at times. Made for extremely slow, and sometimes frustrated reading. I always wondered how that was queried. I would think it would have taken more than a few hundred words...

Megan V said...

I'm curious to know how many of the 51 are R&R and of the queries the QOTKU rejected, if there were any she rejected but requested future mses from those writers.

And btw fellow Reiders I'm glad to see everyone starting the new year right and writing. :)

Karen McCoy said...

Janice, I'm reading Dune also--a trusted editor recommended it because it has similar themes to my novel. The archaic language puts me in mind of Tolkien, but I'm finding the world interesting. As for Tolkien, I went with him into Moria and never found my way out again...

The hamster wheel can also be a motivator, yes? So can fear of failure. Strategize, strategize, strategize.

Janice Grinyer said...

Karen~ good for you! The storyline is very multi-dimensional, isn't it? Your novel must be intense, in a positive way! I found I couldn't take anything for granted, which really impressed on me the political/ethical influence that Herbert developed within the storyline. I didn't just "observe" while reading, but had some very reflective (sometimes visceral even!) thoughts on the content.

Tolkien had moments of levity and humanity in the LOTR series which gave me a respite ( like a Hobbit in Lothlorien :) ; however, I found Herbert's series did nothing of the sort.

But then that's probably why it read so intense for me, in thoughtful way!

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: You are too kind. And since we've only made two mortgage payments so far, I'll take the latter as a vote of confidence that I'll gladly pass along to the bank. :)

Here's a paraphrase from Stephen King that I'll share with y'all because I think this is the only audience that would appreciate it: Writing is like sex. It doesn't work if you think too hard about it.

Steve Stubbs said...

I don’t understand this. It seems to this observer you would need to hook people on the first page. The first sentence if possible. Oh, forget about the first sentence. Hook ‘em with the title.

Rejection is your friend. The kindest thing anyone can say to you is that your work is a total piece of crap. The worst thing that can happen is that you have to change your name or go into hiding because you did not publish your book anonymously and comedians are laughing at you on late night talk shows. Rejection protects you from that. How would you feel if your publisher sent you a bill instead of a royalty check? How would you feel if all the critics were saying, “Thank God, now I have something to criticize.” How would you feel if you got sued for slander because you called yourself a writer? Especially if the judge got up in the middle of the trial, waved that little hammer of his, and yelled, “GUILTY.”

If your stuff does not work, make it work. If you can’t make it work, write something else. If you can’t do anything right, run for president.

Rejection. Like it. Grin when it happens.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin, Mr. King, hahaha.
He's right, writings IS like sex, especially at my age.
It does'nt work if you HAVE to work to hard for it.

roadkills-r-us said...

Several points of comparison leapt to mind, but I should probably just hush.

ReTx said...

A six book series with an explanatory companion novel that is super hard to follow in the first 100 (err... 1000) pages. Guaranteed the writer of the last question is talking about Dorothy Dunnett's The Lymond Chronicles (also my all time favorite books).

The Lymond Chronicles were written in the 1960s. The audience and audience expectations were vastly different than today. Dunnett could get away with a book that requires a dictionary, seven or eight English-to-_____________ translators, and a decent knowledge of 16th Century historical figures to make sense. Writer's today just don't have that luxury. (But thank heaven Dorothy Dunnett did as I wouldn't want a word of her difficult, confusing, wonderful story to change.)

Claire Bobrow said...

ReTex: you're right on the money. That last question was mine, and I was indeed talking about the Lymond Chronicles (aka The Game of Kings series). I love those books so much it hurts, and believe me, it DID hurt for at least the first 100 pages. Glad to meet a fellow fan :-)

Claire Bobrow said...

And whoops, that would be ReTx. Sorry!

ReTx said...

Good to meet you too! It makes me really happy to see Lymond referenced pretty much anywhere in anyform. Have you heard that the producers of Poldark are looking into turning Lymond Chronicles into a TV series of some sort?

Anyways (so that I don't feel I've gone totally off topic), books that old aren't always super helpful as examples of what can be sold today. Although I wish I had half DD's way with words and characters.

roadkills-r-us said...

I'm assuming that ReTx is for retransmit. What's the origin? I can think of several possibilities, and I'm sure there are more. 8^)

ReTx said...

I wish I could say it came from something clever, but the truth it's my initials with a typo that I never got around to fixing.

Kae Ridwyn said...

I finished reading Allan Bailee's OUTPOST yesterday. It's short, only took a few hours. And man alive, but its final sentence surprised me! There's only one other ending that has matched it, in my opinion - Isobelle Carmody's ending to THE RED QUEEN. Admittedly though, one needed to read six previous books in the series, spending several dozen hours in doing so, to reach her final sentence :D