Thursday, June 7, 2007


I've had work rejected by magazines, agents, editors and contests. It hurts. "Don't take it personally" is much easier said than done. But it is part of the game.

Today I had to reject two submissions to Apollo's Lyre. It isn't all that much easier to be the rejector. Especially when I can see the hard work that went into the stories. Both were close. Just not close enough that a quick and dirty edit by me would fix them.

I have sometimes offered to give the author a full critique if they want. In one case the author rewrote based on my suggestions and made the story much stronger. He ended up thanking me publically. That is the exception, however. It takes a lot of time and effort to write a full critique of someone's work. And in all but that one case, I've either been ignored after the critique, received arguments or the rewrite doesn't improve on the original. I know it's frustrating for the author, but it's frustrating for this editor, too.

So, I think I'm done offering full critiques. This attitude is the rule rather than the exception among editors. But it feels like I'm failing the people who submit to AL.

Rejection sucks.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

The Group Strikes Again!

Last night was the official First Monday gathering of The Group. It occurs to me this morning that it may have been our one year anniversary. I'll have to look up whether we met for the first time in June or July of last year.

I arrived a little early to go over new novel ideas. I'd narrowed it down to four and was seeing if I could write a quick sketch outlining the main storyline for each one. If not, then the idea isn't ripe enough to pick. Jenny and Shane arrived while I was pondering and asked what I was doing.

"Looking at story ideas to see which one I'm using for my next project."

Jenny, "Let's hear 'em."

I read one. They nodded politely, asked a couple questions. Mary arrived and the conversation changed. A writer's nightmare happened to her a few weeks ago--complete computer meltdown. Latest revisions, gone.

Fleur and D.B. showed up and the discussion shifted again. Just when I thought it was safe, Jenny said, "So what are your other ideas?" After a brief explanation to bring Mary, D.B. and Fleur up to speed, I read my other three ideas. One in particular sparked everyone's interest. Then Jenny said, "You should put that together with the first one." Brilliance!

The fitting of the two, seemly unrelated, ideas is just what I needed to get excited about starting a new project. And I have to admit, I don't think I would have put them together on my own. Yet, there it was, just waiting for someone to discover the fit.

I love and respect each and every person in this group. We are not a critique group per se, although we do read and comment on each other's work. It's more like a support group--one that encourages a bad habit. Some months we have more people show up than others. Bret and Fran attend sporadically. Nicole is usually a regular, but had to be out of town. Ali shows up as often as she can. Everyone has a unique take on this crazy business of writing and we represent a broad range of genres.

It just works. And I'm so glad it does.