Finding the Sweet: Dealing with Rejection


Finding the Sweet

Write what you want to write,
say the editors.
Write what you love,
say the editors.

I write.
I love this!
Well, say the editors, it lacks a plot.

I write what I love and
make sure it has a plot.
A good ‘un.
(Hey, I’ve studied Hunger Games,
and the Edgar winning mysteries;
I know a good plot
when I read it.)
I love this!
Well, say the editors, the voice doesn’t grab me.

OK. I write what I love and
make sure it has a plot and
make sure the voice is unique, compelling.
A good ‘un.
(Hey, I’ve studied the Newberys,
the Caldecotts, the Alexes,
the Sieberts,
the Edgars, and so on.
I know voice when I hear it;
and I know how to create it.)
I love this!
Well, say the editors, the plot
is great;
the voice
is great;
but I don’t really connect with the characters enough.

OK. I write what I love and
make sure it has a plot and
make sure the voice is unique and
make sure that the characters are connectable.
A really good ‘un.
(Hey, by now, I’ve read all the New York Time’s
Bestsellers, the National Book Award winners,
plus any other @#$#$@ novel
that anyone ever recommends.
I know a good book when I read it–
or write it.)
Hey, I really love this!
Well, says the editor, you got everything right:
plot, characters, voice–
but it’s too quiet.

Where, oh where is that sweet spot?
And how can I write something else
that I love,
knowing that
no one else will love it?
Where is that sweet editor?

A Sweet Spot.

  • Heather Fowler
    December 7, 2012

    Wow, did I need this today. I’m on the rejection wagon for a story I just ADORED. I mean, I shouldn’t complain, because it was one of those rejections that basically said, “this isn’t what we’re looking for for this anthology, but we would love it if you expanded the story to X length and resubmitted as a standalone…”

    It sounds so simple — add a few scenes, tweak a few others, viola! But I was just so satisfied with the way the story was, I’m really struggling with re-writing. Sometimes it gets so discouraging! Thank you for sharing your poem. It reminds me that I’m not alone!

  • Jean
    December 7, 2012

    I’m with you sister! When you find that sweet spot, please draw a map for the rest of us wandering souls. It would be worth more that a bestseller.

  • Lexa Cain
    December 7, 2012

    This is so me. Thanks for the understanding how hard it is to keep pounding your head against the wall with no end in sight.

  • Janet Smart
    December 8, 2012

    Sometimes you wonder if editors love anything except what already published authors write. I recently got a rejection on a PB I sent out that I, my writing group and even my husband loved. Of course, I know that doesn’t mean a thing. But, I really thought this one was the ONE! But, there are other publishers and who knows one of them just might love it as much as I do.