Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Anti-Book of your Heart

Ever had one of those? A book you wrote, one that even gets some accolades and attention from editors, but you just don't much care what happens to it?

CODE NAME: WILLOW was that book for me. I spent the better part of two years on that book (and it actually spanned more years than that, since it sat languishing, about 1/3 written, for several years). I put in a lot of blood, sweat, tears, cursing and hair-pulling on the book just to get it finished and revised to the point that my critique partner didn't look at me in disgust.

And yet, it won a contest, finaled in several others, and was eventually requested by two different editors.

Today, after a requested revision, a Silhouette editor gave CODE NAME: WILLOW its walking papers. And while I'm naturally bummed at yet another rejection, I can't seem to gin up much emotional pain at the rejection. It helps that the editor is already looking at another of my projects, and that she made it clear in the letter that she'd like me to query her with future projects, all good news. But even so, rejections usually hurt a lot more than this one seems to be.

Maybe it's because by the time I sent it out, I pretty much hated the story and the characters. Seriously, I strongly considered not submitting it anywhere, but I told myself that since I'd worked so long and hard on it, I'd never feel that it was complete if I didn't try to sell it. But now that it's over, I'm just not that upset about it. It's almost a relief.

Is that weird?


JENNA said...

Is that weird? If it is, then I'm weird too.

I have a mss that I consider a learning story. In that it's fine, but not my best work. I look at my other stuff and think - now that is golden, but this? Vermeil maybe?

Suzanne said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the rejection, Paula!

Stacy Dawn said...

That's rough! I'm glad you seem to be taking it well but after all that time spent and all the tugging emotions over it, a little bit of chocolate never hurts.

countryholmes on eharl

MaryF said...

Yes, yes, yes! Smoke is that book for me. The requested revisions almost killed me. It just got new life with the PASIC contest, but I know I'll never be able to write another straight romance.

Paula said...

Stacy, chocolate is always a good idea. ;)

Jenna, I have learning manuscripts, too, but they're tucked safely in a box in a closet.

I think with CODE NAME: WILLOW, it was a story that changed shape, tone and theme so many times, it was just a big old mess. I really shouldn't have sent it to the editor in the shape it was in, and I probably gave the revisions short shrift simply because I have such a visceral dislike of the story for what it put me through. Sadly, that's not very professional of me. I need to work on that.

Mary, I've written one straight romance ever--the very first book I wrote. I quickly learned that's just not my thing. I wish it was--life would be a bit easier.

Now and then I come up with story ideas that I think would work as straight romances, but I know deep in my heart I wouldn't enjoy writing them, because I love suspense and danger in my stories too much.

And thanks, Suzanne, for the sympathy. Sympathy is always welcome. ;)