Friday, September 17, 2010

Welcome, Roseanne Dowell

Recently, I received a rejection from Muse It Up Publishing, after an acceptance. That softened the blow a bit. This isn’t my first rejection from Muse. I’ve had two others, but I also have six contracts. The nice thing about Lea Schizas is whenever she sends a rejection, she also lets you know what to fix. I really appreciate that about her.

So here I was with the rejection – the second one of this particular story. I guess I didn’t fix enough the first time. Okay, I looked at all the highlighted words – ‘she’ in this case. Wow, I almost couldn’t believe it. As Lea pointed out, she really liked the story, but there was too much passive voice, not enough showing and too much telling.

Well, of course she was right. I tend to paraphrase rather than use ‘I’ or ‘me’ which begins to sound clunky when you have a long scene that the hero or heroine are thinking. So of course I use ‘she’. Let me tell you it lends for a lot of ‘she’s in a paragraph. Way too many. The story doesn’t flow. So of course, Lea, being a conscientious editor and wanting only the best work for her publishing company, simply said ‘rejected’. Okay, she didn’t put it that way. She sent a very nice email, explaining she really did like the story, but it still needed work – there was too much passive voice and after I worked on it, please resubmit.

As I said earlier, Lea is a very nice person and I value her opinion. Oh, didn’t I say she was a nice person? Sorry, I meant to. Lea is a very nice person. I couldn’t ask for a better editor. Seriously, as an editor and publisher, she really knows her stuff, and she goes above and beyond what most editors and publishers do.
But, I’m off the reason for this blog. So back to the subject. I received the rejection, looked at the story, saw all those highlighted words and almost screamed. How in the world was I going to fix this? It was going to take forever.

I’m pretty good at looking at someone else’s work, but when it comes to my own, well let’s just say the mind goes blank. After all, I wrote it, I know what it’s supposed to say and mean. I know the emotion behind the characters. Too bad, I didn’t convey it to the reader.

So, I closed up the manuscript. I wasn’t in a frame of mind to even begin to work on it. It looked like gobbledy gook to me. All I could see was a mass of yellow scattered throughout.

However, the next morning bright and early at 7AM, my muse woke me. The first thing that came to mind was a sentence from the manuscript. A very good sentence. Well, I learned a long time ago, when the muse speaks, you don’t ignore. So I eased myself out of bed, being careful not to wake my hubby – not that I would have if I had jumped out of bed – he sleeps like a log. But, I didn’t want to wake our dogs either, especially the puppy, who would then require a trip outside. I didn’t have time for that. My muse was throwing more and more sentences at me by the minute. I barely had time to go to the bathroom and brush my teeth. If I didn’t get these words down quickly, I was going to forget them.

So I quickly made a pot of coffee and picked up my laptop. I opened my email to get the copy of my manuscript, opened it and the words started flowing. I love when that happens. I was on a roll. Several hours later (3 to be exact) hubby rolls out of bed, pours himself a cup of coffee and sits down. I was on such a roll; I never even stopped to get me a cup. He says good morning, and I asked him to please get me a cup. My fingers never even left the keys, my eyes never strayed from the screen. He brought me coffee, I took a sip and kept on typing. This was going well. I loved it.

An hour later, I only had a few pages left to revise. I loved it. Hubby, at this point was reading a catalog. That was fine, I didn’t care what he was doing as long as he didn’t bother me. Of course, every so often, he made a comment about something in the catalog. I just nodded and kept typing. Nothing was going to stop me from finishing.

Well, nothing but him, that is. He found something he just had to read to me.

“I’m working,” I said.

“Take a break,” he said.

What the heck, my coffee was getting cold, I was almost done, why not. “Just let me close this program.” I wasn’t taking any chances that the dog would come along, step on my laptop and mess it up or delete half of it or God knows what. So, without thinking – I seem to do a lot of that lately – I go up to the X at the top of the screen to close the program. A little box comes up – “Do you want to save changes to this document?" it asks.

Of course I do. That’s a no brainer, I didn’t put almost four hours of work into this not to save it. So I click on yes. And poof the program goes away. I instantly knew what I did. I never saved the program to begin with, I opened it directly from my email. I open the word program again and click on file to see my recently worked on programs. It’s not there. I go in my documents, it’s not there. I open every file, I’ve ever saved – nothing. I even opened the picture file. Nope nothing.

I’m ready to cry. Four hours of work, all those words – wasted. Gone with a click of my hand. Okay, that file saved somewhere. It asked me if I wanted to save it. So I typed a quick note to my fellow authors and beg for help. I received several good suggestions. One was to check my temporary internet files. Oh, I prayed so hard that it would be there. Nope, nothing that even looked like it. After a few more suggestions from people who knew computers better than me, I still hadn’t found it.
I finally resolved myself to starting over. I haven’t started it yet. I’m hoping it’ll be better than the first one when I do. But for now, I think my muse is mad at me. When I open the program all I see is bright yellow dots scattered throughout the manuscript. But, I promised myself I would get back to it someday. For now, I’ll wallow in self pity and pray that some miracle leads me to find it again. Hey, I can always hope, can’t I?

Double the Trouble will be released March 2011 by Muse It Up Publishing.

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MuseItUp Publishing said...

Okay, that was too funny, but educational in the mind frame of a writer. Rejections are part of a writer's life and if those who look at rejections objectively and can appreciate the help and move forward to flesh the manuscript further, they are the ones to move their careers at a more steady and professional manner. (Long sentence...need an editor. :)

You, Roseanne, have great stories, so a few rejections to help you realize how to spruce up is all it takes. Does this mean I don't have to worry shipping more rejections to you now? hehehehe

Anonymous said...

Roseanne, always start writing by deciding where the file should go and save from the first word. Computers are treacherous things, mine hides my files all over the place if I'm not watching.

Your file may be in the temp files, my computer stuffs new downloaded files in a different temp every day. The first thing I do is take them out of there and into the edits file, if that's what I'm doing. Try doing a search for one of the characteristic words or phrases in the file through all the doc and temp directories.

Chris H.

Roseanne Dowell said...

Lea, you never have to worry (not that you do anyway) about sending me rejections. If it's not my best work, I expect it.
Thanks, Chris, I did that too on the advice of my fellow authors. I don't know where it went. But, I'm happy to say since I wrote this, I have since gotten back to the story, revised and resubmitted. I'm excited to say it has been accepted. It was definitely a learning experience. I always make sure I save the files if I don't open an already saved file.

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