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When I first started, I thought all you had to do is write a book. Can you say *naive*, boys and girls? Join me on my journey as a pre- published writer looking to see my name on the cover of a book. I'll talk about all the bumps, bruises, joys and frustrations I encounter along the way.

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Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Life just isn't fair sometimes

scritch . . . scritch . . . screech . . . scritch . . . scritch . . . screech

Sorry about the noise. Fingernails on a chalkboard, I know. But I had to drag my trusty ol' soapbox in here. I'm gonna need it for this entry.

climbing atop my soapbox and clearing my throat


Sometimes, life ain't fair. In fact, it often sucks.

I'm a writer. One who's aspiring to be published. One who's preparing her first submission, and scared witless.

But that's beside the point. Or maybe not.

My point is, I have three critique partners. All three are excellent writers. I wouldn't have partnered with them if they weren't. And I assume they feel the same way about my abilities. They're forward and outspoken enough (I hope) to tell me I've written crap if I've actually written crap.

They also don't overload me with praise. They don't tell me I'm going to be the next Margaret Mitchell. Or Nora Robers. Or Sherrilyn Kenyon (although I keep telling them I want to be Sherrilyn when I grow up). They don't needlessly pump me up and set me up to fail.

I like that about them.

One of these writers has entered five or six contests sponsored by RWA chapters, and has finaled in each and every one.

So why aren't any of them published?

I know why I'm not published. I haven't had the guts to submit yet.

But each of my critique partners has submitted and received a rejection letter.

Now, I know what you're thinking. Quit whining. It's the nature of the beast. Or at least, the nature of the business. Rejection letters are expected, and if you can't handle the rejection, you shouldn't be trying to be published. If you can't take the heat and all that.

I'll buy that. Matter of fact, I already have. I understand it. And I admire those who have put themselves out there, put their heart's work -- their babies -- out there, only to be shot down. It takes a lot of guts, and often results in a large blow to the ego.

So I guess the correct question isn't why aren't they published. The correct question is why aren't they published when they're so much better than some who are?

Yup. I finally got to my point. Took the scenic route to get here, but I'm here.

Anyway. . .

Yes, I know taste is subjective. I might love Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series while somebody else might prefer to rip the pages from the binding and clean their toilet with it. That's fine. Everybody has their own opinions -- that's what makes things interesting.

But I'm not talking about taste.

There's one author in particular that I'm thinking about. I won't name this person, but it's somebody who's had more than three books published. I'm not saying I don't like this author's writing style. I'm not saying this author's work doesn't suit my taste.

Because taste and style are subjective. (Am I repeating myself?)

But in writing, there are fundamental things. Pick up the highly-lauded Self Editing for Fiction Writers, and within its pages you'll find a list of things authors need to watch for when editing their own manuscript: repeated words and the like. Pick up a copy of Deb Dixon's Goal Motivation Conflict and you'll learn that every character needs to have a reason for doing whatever it is they do.

Those are just a couple of the things that are fundamental to fiction writing. The components of a good story.

I read an excerpt of this author's work the other day, and I was shocked. In one short scene I saw a character react inexplicably -- thinking one thing yet doing another. This character had no motivation for their action.

And I saw things my CPs would never have allowed me to get away with. I saw things my CPs have even called me on, given me a virtual knock upside the head for while screaming, "What were you thinking?"

So back to my question. Why is this person not just published, but multi-published, while we're not?

I suppose this author happened to submit to the right editors and the right publishing houses and the right times.

Or it could even be that my perception is skewed. That what I think is wonderful writing is actually dreck, and the author I speak of has got it going on.

But I don't think so.

That said, I don't begrudge this author their success. In fact, I'm quite happy for them. But I'm still wondering.

And back to my original statement.

Sometimes, life ain't fair. In fact, it often sucks.

Climbing down from my soapbox, taking my bubbles, and going home.


  • Hi Lynn

    I found your blog as I've just posted a piece on my blog about self-editing.

    You're right, it isn't fair - it's a matter of luck as well as talent, but most of all, I believe, it's perseverence. Keep on at it and you will get published, as long as the lessons are learned along the way.

    By Blogger Debra Broughton, at 1:00 PM  

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Location: Atlanta-ish, Georgia, United States

I'm a wife, a mom, an operating room nurse, a writer, a hobby photographer, and a music lover who knits and crochets. And I'm fairly certain I've lost my mind.

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