Low Points

I know I haven’t posted in a while. Life has been busy and I’ve been struggling a bit with my current manuscript and not sure if I had anything enlightening, instructive, or even interesting to say. Not that what I’m about to write is any of those things, though it may give some consolation or at least empathy for those who have found themselves in my position.

I’m not sure if I previously posted anything about an agent asking to see a full manuscript of the second novel I’ve written. Well an agent did, a month or so ago. I got excited (though I wasn’t expecting a ‘yes’) since she had read my first few chapters, looked at a synopsis, and still wanted to see it. I sent it off and waited patiently.

Today I got a reply and I knew it was a ‘no’ simply because the response came by post and not in the form of a phone call.

I started seriously writing over two years ago and, since that time,  have sent out hundreds of queries, a few partials, and even e-mailed an entire manuscript to a publisher who accepted unsolicited submissions.  I should be used to rejections, the words should flow off my back like water off a turtle’s shell, and for years that has been the case.  This time, though, the words cut me and they cut deep to the heart of insecurities I thought I’d either gotten rid of or buried deep.

It wasn’t that I received a form letter rejection – I could handle that – it was the scribbled notes in the margins of that form letter. “The prose needs polishing,” the agent says, “the pace enhancing and the book lots of cutting – and focus and clarity.”  Ouch.  I didn’t think it was that bad; other people have read it, and not just friends, and liked it.  Sourcebooks said no, but found the story solid and the accents enchanting. I can’t enhance the pace. Yes, it’s a romance, but my heroine is struggling with a severe case of social anxiety. There is no way she’d fall into the hero’s arms. Their relationship had to be awkward, sporadic, jerky and incredibly tentative for much of the book. Perhaps the issue is that, though there’s a strong romance running through it, a fair amount of my plot revolves around the heroine learning to love herself, accept herself, and become strong enough to function in the world. If she hadn’t done that, she would never be able to accept love from someone else.

*Sigh* I guess I’m just remembering university and turning in a 20 page paper to my Chaucer professor only to have him come back and tell me it was good, but I might want to think about adjusting my thesis; two days before the due date.

I’m just not sure what to do. Do I take the comments to heart? Take time off from my current manuscript, go back through my last one, and try to figure out where it needs changing? Do I decide that perhaps I don’t have what it takes to be a writer and lay down my pencil? No, I can’t do that. I suppose I’ll just allow myself a few down days, have a nice glass or two of wine, go to see The Avengers in 3D, and get stuck back in.

Here’s to all those who keep writing despite the doubts and all those who tell us it’s not a valid career choice.

Good writing,

Rose Connelly

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