Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Pity Party of One

Ever have one of those weeks where everything seems to happen at once? Rejection after rejection? Even people who you queried six months ago decide that NOW would be an excellent time to let you know that your work is not for them? Seriously? Other than throw a pity party of one to celebrate an utterly craptastic week, what's a girl to do? (Other than eat chocolate, duh!)

Well, here's what I did. First, I sat on the couch and cried. Crying is actually really good. I'm a cryer. I believe it's important to get out what's inside instead of letting it bottle up, and it had been as bottled up as the genie in Aladdin's lamp, I assure you. Then I talked to my mother, my friends, the barista at Starbucks, whomever knows me, knows how hard I've been working, the endless hours of revisions I've put in, letting them build me up by reminding me I really am a good writer, that this is so subjective, that all it takes is one, etc. It wasn't enough. I still felt craptastic.

Two rejections followed by two new requests for the full. I felt like I was on a rollercoaster. But I kept reminding myself - I believe in this book. I know it's a great, fun story. People have told me, at the minimum, numerous times, the film potential this book has - and that is what brought me back.

Although I believe in this story as a novel, I must consider that there are many mediums in which to tell a story. It's important for you to consider too (Not my book, yours, silly!) If it feels like the response is not what you want it to be, try reworking your story in another medium and see if that helps it find its more organic voice. At the minimum, putting a novel into screenplay form demands a certain structure that your novel may be lacking. Certain things need to happen at certain points in the story in order for a screenplay to flow. Are those things happening in your novel at certain points? If not, that may be part of the problem. How often have you watched a movie with great actors and a fun storyline, but NOTHING HAPPENS for too long a stretch. Characters walk, talk, sleep, eat and canoodle, sure, but what else happens? When you translate things to a visual medium, it's hard to get away with that and it may underscore what is hard to see in the pacing of your novel.

After my burst of inspiration that my novel was far from dead - it is still actively garnering interest and holds much potential to be reworked into another medium if necessary - I decided to be brave and dive into the stack of recent rejections. Of course, I made coffee first and grabbed more chocolate. And something salty. Salty and chocolate together . . . yeah. But anyhow, when I took the time to really read the rejections, the biggest thing that I saw that came through on every single one was the validation that I could indeed write. Perhaps what I had written was not for that person, but they all told me I had great talent, they loved the story, they loved the characters, parts made them laugh out loud. So, in fact, I was doing something right. It was the missing piece that was where the subjectivity came in, and what is one man's trash is another man's treasure, right? For example, I just finished reading a current bestselling adult novel this past week, and at the end I wanted to claw my eyes out with a spoon. Up until the end, it had been fantastic, and then it utterly fell apart and was completely unsatisfying. How could that get by the gatekeepers of publishing? And how could readers scoop it up like candy? And how could Hollywood then embrace it as a movie? The ending STUNK!!! But...that's just MY opinion. Just one in a sea of opinions.

And so it is for me...continuing to look for the one soul that connects to the whole package because they see all the other stuff AND see the further potential. I have no doubt it will happen. Just a matter of when. So when I'm feeling discouraged, I have to remember one very important thing. I really do believe in myself and my ability to write. And above all else, it has to start there. If I can't believe in myself and my story, why should I expect anyone else to?


Shelli Cornelison said...

Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming...

Kristen Evey said...

Here, here!

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