Archive for the ‘rejection’ Category

show and tell

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Since this is supposed to be a writing blog, I thought I might put up some actual writing! This is a very small part of the short story I’ve been revising. It was rejected a bunch, but I love the story and I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Thoughts? Comments? Criticism? I can take it.

Even if Kaylee didn’t believe in them, the legends were their only hope now. She remembered the words her uncle recited after each bed time story, just before he kissed her forehead and pulled the sheet up to just under her chin. “In every legend there is truth.” She’d repeated the saying every time she told a story for the children.

Until the men left. Only the old and very young were left behind to look after the town. To watch it die, Kaylee thought bitterly. The able-bodied, including her uncle had gone on the same journey five years ago that she was just beginning now.

She opened her pack and placed the map into it. It was useless, but it couldn’t be left lying around. She felt to the very bottom of the bag where a cool, flat metal plate sat and pulled it out. Shaking it, she guessed that there were probably only a couple of ounces of water in the container. She pushed a tiny button that sat flush with the rest of the surface. This action caused a piece of the rim to pop up, revealing a small opening. Kaylee pressed the opening to her lips and drained the few drops into her mouth. With a small snap she closed the aperture. She pressed another invisible button. Her hand, holding the small plate peeked out from under the cloak she was using as shelter and camouflage. She placed the plate as flat as possible on the torn mound and pushed the button again. She withdrew her hand to the safety of the cloak and waited, counting slowly to one hundred. It was the only way to ensure she waited long enough.

She reached out to retrieve the disk, only it wasn’t a disk anymore. Her heart leapt and she peeked out of a small opening in the cloth. She knew it could expand as much as it was at this moment, but it was only in construction and testing that she’d seen it that way and never because it was filled with water.

She greedily grabbed the container which was expanded to its full capacity. Her fingers shook as she opened the drinking spout and poured the clean, clear water into her dry mouth. A drop fell onto her chapped lower lip and for once she let it happen without mourning its loss. She stopped drinking as soon as she was able. She had to be conservative. As she took a deep breath—even the air felt wetter—she placed the container back onto the mound and engaged the culling button once again.


In the beginning, man’s spirit was dropped from the clouds like rain. He swam through the rivers and lakes and oceans until he reached a welcoming shore. Our people sprang from the once mighty Colorado. Os-Makin was our great leader. He was the first to crawl onto our shore, his spirit dragging through the red earth and collecting it for skin as he moved.

Os-Ra emerged next, the mother of us all. It was she who foretold the dry days. And in that day, she cried, ‘our numbers will dwindle and our children will thirst. A great one will pass through to the west seeking aid. Through the thunder valley, between the white tops he will meet the earth people’…

If you want more, let me know and I will post the next part on Monday.

fifteen for friday 8/28/09

Friday, August 28th, 2009

Here it is!  The much awaited return of fifteen for friday!

first day of school09 0021.  School is in.

first day of school09 0042.  Yesterday I noticed three blooms on my flower.  Normally it only has two, and when I see another about to bloom I know that one flower will fall off before it gets a chance to open.  This is the first time there have been three blooms all at once actually attached to the plant.  I was pondering the reason why this made me so happy.  It has to be that it was unexpected and it involved a pretty lilac colored flower that has a perfect yellow circle in the middle.

3.  A BIG thank you to Jodi, Coy and Amy this week for reading and giving me invaluable feedback.  You guys are great!!!

4. Fun site of the week -

5.  As You Wish came out this week.  Don’t forget to pick up a copy.

6.  Finally read Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen.  I’m noticing that I like her books almost in copyright date order, favorites being the newest.  In other words, I really didn’t like Keeping the Moon so much.  But I’m looking forward to Along for the Ride, the only one I haven’t read yet and her newest.

first day of school09 0067.  The forget-me-nots have grown, but why aren’t they flowering?

8.  I feel like I’m forgetting something.

9.  Good Girls by Laura Ruby –Wow, very modern.  I guess kids these days are having to deal with the issues covered in this book–everything you do can be photographed and sent to everyone you know–yikes.

10.  the sweet, terrible, glorious year i truly, completely lost it by Lisa Shanahan–I really liked this book especially following the heaviness of Good Girls…not that the sweet… isn’t heavy in its own way.  But it has a lot of very funny moments and some outrageous ones.  Gemma’s older sister is getting married and decides her theme will be animals who mate for life.  Sis dresses Gemma up as a SWAN for her flower girl outfit.  The story is set in Australia and has a few quirky words and phrases, but it’s all very followable.  I was a little confused about “the tip” which I could only surmise was a piece of undesirable land that smelled awful.

11.  Girl in Development by Jordan Roter made me realize that the way I tend to write (casual writing, mind you) in “valley girl” may not be the best idea.  Yeah, it’s cute for a little while, but it’s looking more and more immature when I read it from someone else.  I was excited about this book and picked it up because of the blurbs on the back.  It was an okay read.

12.  The three books I picked up at the library all had a copyright date of 2006.  Is that weird or what?

13.  When will I wise up and make it FIVE for Friday?

14.  Random thought (I told you this might happen…no, I did…back in the beginning) is dim sum the same thing as dumplings and pot stickers?  I could look that up, I know…just killing numbers here.

15.  Could someone please please publish me please?! Thanks.

emerson said it best

Thursday, August 27th, 2009

CLOUDSDear to us are those who love us… but dearer are those who reject us as unworthy, for they add another life; they build a heaven before us whereof we had not dreamed, and thereby supply to us new powers out of the recesses of the spirit, and urge us to new and unattempted performances.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’m not sure I find the people who send me rejection letters “dear” but I do think they make me want to try harder and be better.  Here’s an excerpt from my latest rejection regarding my short story:

Thank you for submitting “In Desert Found” to (name removed). It was well received here, but after some thought we have decided not to accept it for publication.

There is a lot of potential for emotional response from the reader in this story idea.

The beginning starts too slowly and lacks conflict to hold attention. Consequently I did not sympathize with Kaylee. Internal monologue would help understand her feelings.

I hope you’ll consider us again, and I wish you the best success in placing this story elsewhere.

I love it!  My very first non-form rejection!  Notice the change in font indicating the move from form to non-form, isn’t it bee-utiful?  Okay, okay it really sucks that they didn’t like the story and yes I am a little embarrassed to share my lack of skills–but it just felt like the thing to do.  And now that I’m done lamenting the rejection I’ve been urged to a new and unattempted performance…aka more editing!

11 things not to do when starting a writing career

Thursday, August 6th, 2009
  1. For fiction, a good idea is gold.  So make sure you start querying any and every literary agent you can get your cursor over, even the ones that only work with non-fiction books…heck, go for it and query other types of agents too…you never know.  Whatever you do, don’t actually have anything written yet; you’ll just have to rewrite it all later anyway.
  2. Proper punctuation and spelling are for English teachers.  Those squiggly lines under your words on the computer?  They’re for decoration.
  3. Can’t type?  No prob.  Pencil written manuscripts are perfectly fine to send in.  That coffee stain?  Don’t worry about it.  You are an artiste; you have grander things to think about than neatness.
  4. Do not follow the query writing / submission guidelines.  Your way is MUCH better.
  5. Rejection letters are a personal assault on your sensibilities.  Any agent who turns you down is a drooling dope and everyone deserves to know it.  Call, email, blog, and twitter about the injustice that has been done to you and the unsavory traits of the person who offended you.
  6. As soon as you send a query, and especially if you’ve been asked to send a manuscript, call the agent DAILY to check up on the status.  When they start to get a little firm with you that just means you’ve got their attention!  When they threaten to call the police, only then is it time to stop calling.
  7. If you have the good fortune to attend a writer’s conference, zoom in on your dream agent and never leave her side.  Share personal stories, the more intimate the better.  Make her think you’ve been best friends for ages.
  8. Make sure you start a blog that thrashes the publishing industry completely.  Tweet your links to the nation and sit back while you single-handedly revolutionize every negative thing about it.  It may hurt now, but they will thank you later.  There might even be a statue in your future.
  9. On your shiny blog, don’t forget to list out the crappy authors who somehow, by some crazy twist of fate, became published before you.  Make sure to tell the reasons why their writing sucks too.  Everyone can use some constructive criticism.

10.  When you finally have an agent (this should take 1-2 months-tops) DO NOT BUDGE on anything.  Take all you can get, but give as little back as you can.  Rewrites, schmewrites.  Oh, and don’t forget, these are big city folk, they only respond to rudeness.

11.  Do not ever try to help any other writer on their road to publication.  They are the competition, never forget that.  If you have the opportunity to sabotage them -do it.

agent follow-up

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

I’ve been wondering about this:

I suppose this means that I can’t bug them after only two weeks.  I’m just kidding of course, that would be the fastest way to get a no-thank-you.

a week in the Life

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

I’m set up on twitter and I got a new follower this week, Sterling House Publications. I’m sure they did some sort of complicated search to find out who wants to be published…still it was an interesting thing to have happen.

Rejection number two faced me as I opened my email this morning. I love the feeling I get when I’m just about to open a reply to a query and there’s this excitement at the possibility that I could be picked up. Then I read it, and mild disappointment hits. And it is very mild, I’m not sure why…I’ve never really taken rejection from strangers all that hard. I guess it could be that the rejections are just so gosh darn nice….see the example below…


Dear Ms. Parker,

Many thanks for your email regarding your novel SEA ROSE, which I am declining with my regrets.

Given the demands of running a boutique agency and continuing to best represent my current clients, I must make difficult decisions every day regarding what new projects I can sign. I appreciate your thinking of me, and wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.


Kate Schafer Testerman


first rejection!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Yesterday I received my first rejection letter from a literary agent. Surprisingly, it didn’t bother me all that much. Of course it was a very kind form letter (actually an email), didn’t say anything like “you suck…don’t ever write anything again”, but it was a rejection nonetheless. It felt like a right of passage. For goodness sakes, who gets an acceptance on their first try in the publishing world? If you can name one, let me know!

I was a little triumphant because I’d moved on something big (at least I think it’s big). I’ve taken many steps, written the darn thing, wrote queries, etc… and that feels good.

Before I send out anymore queries I think I’ll get some beta readers. I need some more feedback on how to make this thing great. Any takers??? ;)