Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Agony and the Ecstacy

The Ecstacy because I've finished assembling the documents and spreadsheet for the tax enquiry (oh frabjous day!). With that no longer hanging over me, I can get back to the actual writing part of writing.

As a part of the proof of expenses I've had to compile, I've also had to supply evidence of submissions. And we know what that means, ladies and gents.

Rejection letters.

This wouldn't be a big problem if we were talking about form rejections. For once in my life I wish I had form rejections to show... But no. No, no, no. These are detailed rejection letters.

Yes folks, my lovely taxman, as well as deriving amusement from my abysmal attempts at maths, will be collapsing with mirth at the contents of my 2003-2004 rejections.

Oh, the shame. Oh, the Agony...

He will be wiping tears of laughter after reading such gems as:

"... felt that at this stage the plotting and characterisation are still too problematic." Well, as long as the rest of the book's okay. I mean, what's a little plotting and characterisation between friends?

"... what exactly is the Agency? Is it good, or evil?" If the reader can't tell if your villain is villainous or superfluous, you're in deep doo-doo.

"There is a little too much implausible globe-trotting." What? I can't send them to Hawaii on honeymoon, either?

"The biggest problem is [the hero]" Oops.

"... his character is too morally ambiguous..." Okay, you got me on that one. Guilty as charged. I LIKE him morally ambiguous...

"... the story is poorly organised..." Hey! That's cool! So is my tax return!

"... one particularly heavy-handed scene..." Ouch. Just... ouch.

"... which doesn't quite make sense anyway...." *whimper*

"... the love scenes are quite good, although a bit too chatty." Hang on a sec, I need a moment to let the humiliation of that sentence really sink in.

... ... ...

... ... ...


There ya go.

Actually I think too chatty may actually be an understatement. In one scene there's nothing but dialogue.

"...(especially the scene where he deflowers her)." Yeah, that's the one. So sue me. I wrote a virgin heroine. There were mitigating circumstances, I swear.

"... and there is one (unintentionally, I presume) funny scene..." Nope. That was intentional. Pass me that razor, will you? You don't mind if I bleed all over your desk?

"... but it needs some work first." You don't say.

"... if you would prefer to submit a different story..." Is anyone else getting the subtext, "because I'd rather gouge my eyes out with my stapler than read this again ?

It's beauties like those that I've begged the taxman not to read too closely. He will of course. I'll get them back with coffee stains on from where he's passed them round the staff room, wheezing with laughter.

I hope YOU won't hold these against me, either! I can only say to you what I have said to the taxman. "... I have definitely improved."


At 11:42 pm, Anonymous Danica said...

I had no idea the comments were so um... like the ones I get. :) I think you are an awesome writer, and someday the tax man will be reading your books.

At 6:11 am, Anonymous Kate Hardy said...

Rejection letters are always ick - but there may also be some good stuff in there. And of course you've improved and grown - because you've taken notice of the comments and taken another step forward in your writing.

Some of them seem unnecessarily harsh, though! When I do crits (which for the most part work out as Rs), I try to be constructive rather than do an elephant dance over someone's dreams. (It's possible to tell it like it is but be kind about it.)

Am *sure* the taxman won't laugh. Chances are, taxman is secretly writing a novel - and your Rs are going to give him an idea of what he/she can expect to get from the first couple of submissions...

At 7:02 am, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

LOL Kate! I'm totally transfixed by the idea of the taxman hungrily reading my rejections to give him some clues for my own novel. Hilarious.

Yeah, Danica. :-) I think writers should get together and share the worst bits of their rejections regularly! I swear we all probably hear the same things...

And just to clarify - I didn't intend this as a pity-fest! They do honestly make me laugh these days, even if they didn't at first.

The editor was 98% right, too. ;-)

At 7:02 am, Blogger Anna Lucia said...

That should be "some clues for HIS own novel" of course.

At 7:49 am, Blogger Michelle Styles said...

Rejection letters ALWAYS make me break out in a cold sweat.
The big question is how notto curl up in a little ball and not use any of it to improve.
Too in my book means overly btw.

At 9:01 am, Blogger Biddy said...

LOL I too have a picture of the taxman trying to glean help from your rejection letters.
Honey, you KNOW you have learnt from those letters!

At 3:38 pm, Blogger Melissa Marsh said...

I think those types of rejection letters are a lot better than form rejections. I'm sure you've been able to glean some great insight into your manuscript from them. :-)

At 4:12 pm, Anonymous Christy K. said...

Thanks for being brave enough to share!

I have to stop digging my heels in. Converation with hubby last night:

"You're finished with your book, right?"
"So that means you're ready to send it?"
"Uh, yeah." (But maybe it could stand another go-through before then.)
"Okay...so are you going to send it soon?"
(weaker voice now)"Uh, yeah. This week sometime." (After I take another look at that synopsis)
"Uh-huh." (Oh God! Why did I tell him I was done?!?)

I just have to do it and quit being afraid of having it rejected. :-(


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