Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Book Channels, Writing and Rejections

It's been a while since I blogged. One of the offspring has been very sick for about three years, and that has been taking an increasing amount of my time. It's odd how things crop up and grab your time when you least expect it. I've also been questioning the nature of blogging lately. I've noticed ego taking a serious toll on blogs that I once liked, and I wonder whether that happens to everyone who pours out their feelings in a blog.

Someone at a Kansas newspaper checked my book out of the local library and mentioned it in her column. I thought that was neat. Super neat! I had forgotten that libraries were one of the distribution channels. It's a good book to have in libraries, I think. It might be useful. Isn't that what non-fiction writers want? To be useful? Unfortunately, I don't want to be a non-fiction writer.

As for fiction, I have had difficulties in working on my novel lately. Everyone who has read it, at least, the first 20 pages or so, liked it and had been telling me to finish it. For some reason, I don't have any doubt that it will be published. I've never had that feeling before. I have been writing stories and novellas since I was in grade school, and all of them were fun to write. They got out my aggressions, my anger, my disappointment or whatever was boiling over the surface. They were fun to write, but none of them felt particularly engaging to read. I started submitting fiction works and non-fiction queries when I was a teenager. Oddly, whenever there was interest I froze completely. I had two publishers interested in my queried ideas at one point, in my early 20s, and both times I freaked and didn't respond to them.

I still have this problem. I was powering along this novel when the spouse copied it onto a flash drive and threatened to read all of it while I went to the beach two months ago. That froze me instantly. I couldn't write a word, wondering what he thought of it. I called and/or texted every night, wondering what he thought of it. He hadn't had time yet. The next night, he hadn't had time yet. It must not be that engaging, it must be stupid and an abomination to fiction itself.

I found that I couldn't write a word of it anymore, it was stuck in the purgatory of haven't-been-read and couldn't leave until I was either told that it was terrible or that it was thrown away. I insisted that it be thrown away. I finally succeeded in getting it thrown out this month. I am working on it again, easing back into it. Unlike my other fiction, I enjoy reading it. It isn't just a good experience for the writer, I think it will be a good experience for the reader. Something about the work feels different from any other that came before. I can't think of anything else. I can't follow conversations. It's just there. Always.

I was never afraid of publisher rejections before. I thought they were neat. But when this work is sent in, I will take it personally. I will bristle at every generic little slip of rejection. However, I found this rejection generator that may ease the trauma a little. By reading all of the possible rejection types, you can become immune to their power. You can choose the kind of rejection you want- I chose all of them. My favorite:

Dear Writer,

The void awaits us all, but your prose was a gaping hole of premature death. From your submission darkness seeped, the groaning collapse of the inept, in throes. It shocked us into brain-dead spasms, and we only recovered when a cat happened to jump on the keyboard and hit delete.

We kindly ask that you not submit again.

But one thing remains to be known: what rough beast slouches at your keyboard?

Don’t answer.

The Editors

No comments: