Today the sun is shining after a wave of stormy days. But I have an envelope sitting on my desk from Grosset & Dunlap. And I’ll be honest, it’s likely not good news.
My revisions arrived on March 10th and this envelope is postdated March 16th. So for 6 days they have been considering my FlowerMiss story. If it were good news, they would’ve called. So the contents of this envelope is either a flat out rejection (I have a feeling), or more revisions. Would you like to take the ride with me?
So here we go … let’s open this possible rejection together. READY? Okay, I’m going to open the envelope, … (BRACE YOURSELF NESS) …
I see the letter. It’s long. There’s a lot of print on it. I’m going to read it now…
Okay, in a nutshell … this is what they said: Perhaps I could narrow the story down to two characters instead of four, that way there would be more time to focus on developing an emotional connection to my characters. They think my descriptions are beautiful, but still unsure about the storyline as well. They encourage me to send it out to other publishing houses. But they are not interested in it.
…I just had to spend a minute to gather myself together. I’m not crying, but I want to. This is the thing: I JUST GOT HUGE PERSONAL FEEDBACK FROM PENGUIN! That alone is a big deal. Okay, I got rejected but I’m moving forward. Her comments are valid. I just need to spend more time developing this story, but I’m close. I’m almost there.
Whew! Well, I’m going to live. Thanks for taking the ride with me. There will be plenty more coming.
My words are tired. I probably need to take a break from writing. Before I do that, here’s an update on my most recent rejections:
I’m happy to report that Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group gave me a nice rejection. A division named Feiwel & Friends said that they reviewed Barefoot on the Sidewalk and “although we thought this had potential to be a moving story … we weren’t drawn to Abby as a character.” They only reviewed the first 5 pages because that’s all I sent to them. But I appreciated their comments and did some revisions based on them.
Boyds Mill Press sent me that dreaded form-slip piece of paper, addressed to “author.” Ahhhhh! But it’s okay. I hadn’t had one of those in a while. I’m okay. Really.
That’s all I’ve got for now. But they’re coming …
Parked in front of the post office, I sat in my car, sunlight filtered through the bare branches of a tree, and in half-shadow, half-light; I poured over pages of words. Words I had already written, new words, restructured paragraphs, chapters made over … and then it was DONE.
Remember the editorial feedback I received from Grosset & Dunlap? From the moment that letter came into my care, I began the revision process and that’s ALL I’ve done ever since. Well. Okay, I did do other stuff. But I gave this my best. I really did.
Now the revised manuscript is on its way to New York. Here are my thoughts about this: I’M SCARED! I mean, this is going to be a new kind of rejection. You know, the kind that happens after being HOPEFUL? I had REJECTION all glamorized here in my new blog. Now it’s going to be mean, raw and ugly again. No fun.
Well, I should look at the good part. Now, I have a piece of writing that I’m proud of. And I’m happy with it. That should be what matters. Right?
TOO BAD IT’S NOT. SIGH.
We spent time in Sun Valley last week. The Lodge and Inn are surrounded by quaint shops, cozy eateries, candy store w/handmade chocolates, and a small pond full of ducks, birds and one big white swan. A beautiful swan. There may have been more than one. But I only saw one. She floated in the middle of the pond like a beautiful white queen.
They also have an outdoor iceskating rink. My son learned how to iceskate for the first time. It was truly lovely. He made new friends, who held his hand, kept him from falling on the ice.
But there was something else I saw. A letter, framed and hanging along a string of old pictures of famous Hollywood actors who had patroned the Lodge over the years. The last letter written by Ernest Hemingway was among them. He signed it “Papa.” It was really neat to see.
Sun Valley is a beautiful place to write and be inspired.