So late last week I was a bit bummed out and discouraged. I got an e-mail back from an editor at TWRP who was considering the third book in my series. This one is about Jake, my bull rider hero, and as I'm all about those cowboys, I'm probably more in love with this hero than any of my others. At least at this particular moment! :)
The mss had already been submitted once and revisions requested. I changed the heroine's occupation to give her a greater motive for being fearful of Jake's career, polished up a few more things, and sent it on its way again.
Within the promised time frame, less than three months, it was back in my inbox again. Before opening the e-mail, I noticed the little paper clip on the line indicating there was an attachment. My foolish heart did a little pitter patter thinking it was a contract attached.
But, no such luck. The e-mail started off by telling me she liked the revisions and that part of the story worked much better, but it still needed some work. She gave me a list of specific areas that still needed to be stronger. The attachment was a copy of the mss with some sections highlighted to show where those changes were needed.
At first, I couldn't shake the disappointment. I thought about going to another publisher, posting the doc on my web-site for free, or giving up on the story altogether. To say I was discouraged was an understatement. I read through some of the suggestions and couldn't help but feel that nothing was right with the mss. I had no motivation to do anything to change it. Why bother? It would probably just be rejected again.
Then I noticed the topic for the program Monday night at my local RWA meeting. "Maintaining Self-Esteem in the Face of Rejection". The timing couldn't have been more perfect. After the meeting, I was more than ready, willing, and motivated to work on the mss again. I approached it with fresh eyes. Ideas are coming to me and I'm scribbling notes at all hours of the day and night.
I guess the thing that hit me the most was when the speaker said when an editor (or agent) asks for revisions...she's not just being nice...she means it. She wants to see the story again and is giving you a chance to make it better. A revision letter is a second, or in this case, third opportunity. Even a rejection means you're out there living your dream. Some people don't even have the guts to do that.
Now, looking at the marked up mss, I see it as an opportunity. And I'm going to take it. That editor didn't need to take the time to give examples and exact places where the story needed work. But she did. She even said wanted to see it again, but understood if I wanted to move on to other projects. For a while there, I thought of doing just that. But this is my dream. When I first conceived the story for This Time for Always, it was always with the intention of writing a second and third book for the series based on secondary characters from the first. I'm two-thirds of the way toward realizing that dream. Now is definitely not the time to quit.
All I needed was a little kick in the pants and a reminder of why we're in this crazy roller coaster business in the first place: because we have a story to tell. And I'm gonna tell Jake's.
Until next time,
An Unexpected Blessing - a Thanksgiving novella coming November 21