Sunday, October 26, 2008

Goodnight Manuscript

I received several nice personal rejects, then some forms. At that point I became gunshy, and afraid to send things out. How do you know if you need to revise after receiving a personal, or if you just need to try again and hope someone else likes it better? I got comments like "well constructed plot", "adorable character", "made me laugh out loud", but not quite right.
When to think about revising:
When you've gotten a bunch of form rejects, or personal rejections with similar criticisms.

When to keep trying:
When you've gotten personal rejections that aren't highlighting particular faults. This is more likely to mean the manuscript is right for somebody--just somebody you haven't submitted to yet.

The other EA, my adult fiction counterpart, has a sweet little bedtime story for you: The Story of an Underdog

Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight self-doubts everywhere.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks EA! I was just about ready to give up on my manuscript because of the non-specific personal rejections ...

ChrisEldin said...

Thanks for this post.
:-)

I received a bunch of very nice personal rejections for my first MG, and wondered what to do--there was nothing specific. Then I received one which reiterated all the nice ones, but added she wanted to see a particular story thread strengthened. I took her advice to heart and hope that it's made my story better. Still gun shy at this point, but at least I had something concrete to work with.

moonrat said...

awww, thanks :)

Miriam S.Forster said...

I would like to put my self doubts to sleep permanently... maybe with a large mallet.... :-)

Thank you for the encouragement!

Jennifer said...

I'm at a turning point: either keep at it, or start something new?? It's hard to quit something you've invested so much time in, whether a manuscript or a relationship. The Little Engine That Could stories are very inspiring, but on a more practical note, at what point do people out there decide to move on and work on another basket for those eggs?

Deaf Brown Trash Punk said...

thanks, man. I feel so depressed and suicidal sometimes when I get norwhere with my book (and screenplays) but I need hope once in a while.

Kristi Holl said...

Thanks for the upbeat response. No matter how long a person is in this business, rejections are hard. I expect many of us give up too soon.
Kristi Holl
Writer's First Aid blog

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Sarah Laurenson said...

I'm right there with you, miriam. A big mallet. I hate that self-doubt.

nw said...

How about when several people want revisions, but they all want totally different revisions?

Sarah Laurenson said...

I've been there - with the different - and conflicting - viewpoints. Usually, I set the ms aside for a little while and let all the comments wander around the empty caverns of my back brain before tackling the issues and deciding which revisions are helpful and which are too far from my vision.

Sometimes I will do different versions of the same ms. I think a lot depends on who's asking for the revision.

I have one ms that the beginning is on the gross side. Enough so that several people told me to take it out but several people told me to keep it. An agent told me to lose it, but she also didn't like a lot of things about that beginning. An editor told me to keep it and, on the strength of only that beginning, requested the rest of the ms. I'm keeping it.

mnkuhl said...

Thanks. After getting a couple, "You're clearly a talented writer and the story is interesting, but the voice just didn't resonate with me." responses to my full, I needed this pep talk.