Tag Archives: rejection

Bad Week

This week was pretty bad for me on a personal level. I had applied for, not one, but two supervisor jobs just before Labor Day, and they just announced their selections on Thursday. I’m currently the lead worker in my unit, and so I thought I had a pretty good chance of getting the job. After all, it’s not much of a step from here to there, and I have got seniority over everyone else that applied. Unfortunately, that’s not how things worked out.

Despite the fact that I trained both of the people who were chosen, and that I have been putting in extra (unpaid!) hours at work in order to make sure that my unit runs smoothly, and as I said before, I have seniority, I wasn’t the right person for either of the jobs. After they made the announcement, I was feeling angry, depressed, ugly, stupid, and most of all, unappreciated. I am tempted to start slacking at work, but in all honesty, I’m just not that kind of guy. When I started putting in extra hours, it wasn’t because they asked me to, but because I need to make sure that the job gets done. When I create a new spreadsheet, database, or reference material, it’s usually not because I’m asked to do so, but because I know that it will make everyone’s job just a little bit easier. And when I spend my own money to bring in treats for my unit (which I did on Monday), it’s because I knew they were going to be stressed (there was a software update over the weekend), and would need something to help them through it.

Maybe the management that made the hiring decision understands that about me and that’s why they felt they didn’t need to give me a promotion. Maybe they thought that they could just continue to take advantage of my strong work ethic and technical expertise in the position that I already have. Maybe they’re right.

Or maybe they just don’t like me very much. I have been known to rub people the wrong way. It happened a lot on Thursday, they day they made the announcement. It seemed like every other person I spoke to thought I was being rude. I apologized, but I don’t know if it made a difference. I hope it was just the stress, but you never know.

In any case, I’m not happy with their choices, and from what I know about the two of them (a lot, since like I said, I trained them), they certainly don’t have the experience or work ethic that I do. So I hope management is happy with their picks, because I have the feeling it’s going to be a disaster. It has happened before, but I won’t get into the details.

So anyway, this weekend I am just staying at home and trying to relax, so hopefully I will be able to deal with the coming week. I finished story 38, which was remarkably apropos for what I was going through. It’s titled Beauty and the Beast, and it’s about an ugly man who meets a gorgeous woman, but because of his physical handicaps he feels that it would be better to just kill himself than even try to be friends with her. Thankfully, she has other ideas.

I got into some deep, dark, depressing thoughts in this story, and I have to admit that I have had those thoughts myself. Especially after last week. But don’t worry about me, gentle reader. I have a loving wife who keeps me grounded, and I have no intention of leaving this mortal coil any sooner than I have to.

Once again, I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about this week, but I’m hoping for something a little more uplifting. I think I would like to write something about overcoming challenges, and making the best of what you’ve got.

We’ll see how that works out next week. See you then!

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September 19 – My First Rejection

I got an e-mail last Thursday (after my last blog post) to let me know that my short story “The Hunt” was “not quite what they were after for the anthology.”

Believe it or not, I was actually a bit relieved. The story needs work, as Monica and Alex pointed out to me at our workshop last weekend. So this gives me a chance to do some more edits before I send it out again. I haven’t started on those edits yet, but I do expect to work on it this week.

In other news, I haven’t done very well on my diet yet. I gained another two pounds since last week. I’m not concerned. I know from past experience that dieting is a process. I don’t expect to have instant results. But this does give me added incentive to follow through. I’ll be much more careful about my food intake this week, and hopefully I will at least be able to report next week that I haven’t gone up again.

Finally, my plans for this week are to outline at least one of my novels. I want to start with my new series idea, but if I get stuck on that one I will probably take a break and work on the outline for the edits for one of my books that still need editing.

I should probably do some writing as well. The question is: what should I write? I don’t have any story ideas that are ready to start. I could just start going and see where it takes me, but then there is more of a chance that the story will fall apart midstream, like the last two seem to have done.

Maybe if I start my outline with one of my finished novels I can start working on them. The ideas I had for the changes are more rewriting than simple editing. It’s almost like I will be starting over from scratch.

The other option is for me to work on one of the scenes for my new series. My ensemble group of characters needs an origin story, and I think that might be a good place to start.

Feel free to comment if you have any ideas about this. How do you usually start working on your stories? Do you outline or do you just start writing and see where it goes? If you don’t outline, how clear are your ideas before you start writing?

Thanks for stopping by. I’ll be back on Thursday for another update.

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August 15 – Failure

I’m not trying to be all doom and gloom here, but I couldn’t help but think that my post last week could use a follow-up. So here’s a little bit of my thoughts on failure, and how an author can use it for inspiration.

Failure is an integral part of the writer’s life. It is the blood of your pen, spreading in a dirty pool around your work, leaving a sticky trail pointing directly back to you. It fuels your struggles, brings your characters to life, and marks the corpses of your children.

Failure is the primary means of connecting your characters to the reader. Conflict and tension keep the reader interested, but failure in that conflict makes the reader care about how they will recover. A good story will have conflict that has high stakes, up to and including the end of the universe. So when your character overslept on the day of the big test, or comes in second in the race, or is too slow to prevent the death of a loved one, we know there are consequences to the failure. The trial of the author is to tell us how this affects your character, and more importantly, how they will get past it and move on to face the next challenge.

All of us have failed at something in our life. We lose the game, or we didn’t study hard enough, or we miss the bus. Sometimes we blow the job interview, or we get caught speeding, or the person we love decides they want to see other people. As writers, there’s always the ubiquitous rejection letter. All of these experiences help us to connect with the reader in our stories. Remember how these failures affected you, and use it to help you tell how your character’s failure will affect them.

And don’t forget that most writers are psychopaths. They delight in taking a character and ruining their life. The more pain and suffering they go through, the better. Harry Potter started as a normal kid, but then Ms. Rowling decided it would be a better story if his parents were dead and his guardians hated him. Even after she relented and let him out of the closet, his adventures at Hogwarts just kept getting progressively more dangerous, until the fate of the entire world hung on his shoulders. Frodo was pushed through unfamiliar lands, being chased by monsters that outclassed him in every way, and only had Sam as a companion for most of the trip. He wound up on the brink of madness, and he only managed to complete his quest with the help of the already insane Gollum. The most powerful stories include a moment when the only thing the main character is sure of is that all is lost. The point where there is no hope, and they have no idea what to do next.

I’m at that point right now in my short story, “The Hunt”. I’ve got the main character holed up in a room with no escape, hiding from certain death. I have no idea how she is going to get away, and so by default I’m pretty sure she feels the same way. Other failures I have been dealing with in this story is that even the beginning section has been through three drafts, and still my critique group keeps telling me that it isn’t working. I’m starting to believe them.

But that’s the point, isn’t it? The test isn’t whether or not we can succeed at everything. It is how we deal with what happens after we fail. How we pick ourselves up and continue on, dragging ourselves out of the gutter to face the next problem. I have had plenty of practice dealing with the boots stomping on my face. I’m sure there will be plenty more black nights in my future, but I have to keep looking for the dawn breaking over the horizon. I have faith that I’m not alone, and all of my trials will make me a better person.

I hope this little bit of rambling helps you out. Keep plugging away, and I’ll see you again on Thursday!

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July 1 – My First Submission

So today marks a milestone in my writing career. Today I sent my first submission for possible publication. I expect that my next milestone will be my first rejection notice, but at least I made the effort.

Today I submitted my short story, “Losing Control”, to Burning Bulb Publishing for consideration for their upcoming anthology, The Big Book of Bizarro. It is supposed to be a trade paperback and they are paying 5¢ per word for up to 3000 words, capped at $75. I almost chickened out and decided not to submit, even though I have spent a lot of time over the last few weeks tearing out what little hair I have trying to edit the piece.

It started with a dream that I had a few months ago. I thought it was interesting, so I made a couple of notes when I woke up and stuck them in my story idea file. Then about a month ago one of the authors in my critique group sent me an e-mail telling me about this call for submissions. This was just after WisCon and I had just decided that I should start working on short stories because that’s what I learned from some of the panels at the convention. I looked over my idea file and thought, “Which one of these might be bizarre enough for this?” And the only one that popped out at me was this one. It’s about a woman who is impregnated by the spirit of a dragon. The baby dragon is incorporeal, so there are no physical signs of pregnancy, but instead its spirit grows inside her, crowding out her soul. At the end it pushes her out of her own body and takes over. It’s the weirdest idea I had, so I ran with it. The first draft was about 3800 words, but since the guideline was for 3o00, I knew I had to trim it down. I read the first draft for my critique group and they suggested edits, which helped bring down the word count, but it wasn’t until the third or fourth pass that I got it down to 3000 words. My final draft, finished this morning, was 3009 words.

There were two reasons I almost decided not to submit the story. The first was because I thought it wasn’t good enough. At our last Tuesday night critique session, the woman who told me about it read a piece that she was going to submit. It was great. Really dark and disturbing. Which is exactly what the submission guidelines say they want. That was the second reason I thought about passing. I didn’t think that my story was “creepy, chilling, disturbing, and moody” enough. I think my story is strange, but probably not “disturbing”.

So that’s why I think I’ll be getting a rejection slip soon. I’m sure it will be the first of many, but I had to start somewhere! I’ll keep you all posted as soon as I hear the word. And after I get the rejection, I’ll see if I can find any other markets for the story. If nothing comes up, I may post it here.

My next post will be Monday. I’m going to try for a Monday/Thursday posting schedule from now on, so I’ll see you back here on the Fourth!

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Submissions and Rejections

Today I plan on sending my first submission. The Knight Agency is having a contest with the winner being offered representation. I put a little bit about it in my blog yesterday. I’ll be submitting Finding Valhalla for the contest since it is the only finished book I have that I consider to be fairly well written.

I’m not expecting much from this. I know that I am a beginning author, and I know that I have a lot of work to do before my writing is ready for publishing. But the fact is that everyone has to start somewhere. If nothing else, this contest will help me know how far I have to go by how far I get in the contest.

If I get dropped on the first round, I know it sucks. If it’s the second round, then I know that I need to do a lot of editing work. If they pass on the third round, then maybe my writing isn’t so bad, and with a little editing I could submit somewhere else. If by some miracle I make it to the fourth and final round, then maybe I should finish my editing as soon as possible and start submitting to other agencies.

Personally, I am hoping to at least pass the first round, but expect to be dropped after the second. But I’m a pessimist.

The other part of this process is the rejection. I fully expect a rejection at some point. And any published author will tell you that EVERY author should expect the same. No matter how good you are, you will probably get a rejection letter before you get an agency or a publisher to accept your manuscript. That’s just the way the system works. The important thing is that you keep trying. If the first place you send your book to doesn’t like it, the second, or third, or 89th place might. Any contact you have with an agent or editor is a good one.

I’ll keep you all informed on my status with this contest. Wish me luck!

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