K is for Knack, Kudos and Kleenex


This is a continuation of the A-Z blog challenge.  Click here to see the list of all 1935 participants!

For the past several weeks I’ve tested my writing capabilities like I’ve never done before.  I wrote a short story based on a picture and submitted it to a publisher for an upcoming anthology.  This was no easy feat.

I stared at the picture a lot, actually for a couple of months.  I thought I had a story I wrote years ago that would work.  I dusted it off and after reading it again, decided it belonged back in the vault. I was back to square one.  I then started reading through some other unpublished pieces and decided to take a few things out of each one that I liked, and weave a new tale that would capture the essence of the picture.

It was more difficult than I thought it would be.

Slowly but surely, a story emerged and I was happy with it…well, I was happy with the 1st half of it.  The second half sucked, with a capital S.  Even my beta readers agreed. However, with their comments, I brainstormed and came up with another half that we agreed was much better and presentable.  I submitted the story to the publisher.  That was April 2.

The next day I received an e-mail from the publisher. My heart almost leapt out of my chest.  I held my breath and opened the e-mail.  They liked the story but wanted changes. Would I be willing to make them and re-submit?  Can anyone say, “Heck Yeah!”  I had until April 11 to resubmit.

I thought about it, racked my brain, tortured my beta readers while offering my own critiques of their short stories for the same anthology competition.  Amazing enough, it never felt for a moment like we were competing against each other.  We were three authors working together in hopes of being published together.  And, because we were all part of an online writer’s group, the three of us had tons of support from the other members.  I can’t begin to say thank you enough to our support team.

In the wee hours of April 11, I sent over a revised copy of my short to the publisher.  An e-mail from the publisher around 11:40 yesterday morning sent my heart racing.  Was it good news?  Bad?  With a knot forming in my gut, I opened the e-mail.

They wanted clarification and ideas on how I would change some things.  Would I give them in-line comments on how I would fix some things?  Whew.  Not a denial.  I answered “Yes”, and I provided them with what they wanted, but let me tell you, the self-doubt kicked up a notch.  Here I was in the second round of edits and I still missed the mark.  What does that say about me as a writer?

Wait.  No.  Don’t go down the pity path, I said to myself.  They were requesting information from me.  That meant they were still interested.  Stay focused. Stay positive. The next round of e-mails concurred with my ideas and I got the “We’ll let you know” e-mail.  Okay.  Still in the running.

Today, I sit and wait.  Only five out of all the submissions the publisher received will find a home in the new anthology.  Part of me feels very positive. I mean, I gave it my all; the other part feels like I’m an outlier statistic.  These are feelings I think all new authors feel and go through.  Our hands sweat.  We get nervous.  We check our e-mails a gazillion times and pray when we get the one that counts, it’s good news.

No matter what the outcome, I know me.  Tears will fall, either out of joy or sadness.  The box of Kleenex is already on my desk.  I will cry for those who made it, and cry for those who didn’t, but never once will I doubt we all have the knack to tell a great story.  Kudos to all who tried and took the chance, and to my beta sisters who submitted along with me…you rock my world and I am blessed to have you on my side.  Good luck to each of you.  My fingers and toes are crossed.

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9 thoughts on “K is for Knack, Kudos and Kleenex

  1. Best of luck, Jenny! As others have mentioned, you’re lucky that they were so interested in your story that they asked for changes TWICE. I am certain that is not usual and others were not given that chance for improvement because theirs wasn’t even close to what they were looking for. 🙂

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  2. Stopping by, courtesy of the A to Z blog hop!

    I would say that as nerve-wracking as it is to be waiting, and as much as I know what it means to doubt yourself… the fact that they asked you for the information, and asked if you would be willing to make certain changes, is very positive. Even if they end up not choosing yours in the end, look at it this way– they liked it enough to give it more than a passing glance. And when faced with as many entries as I’m sure they have, many writers didn’t even get THAT far. It’s truly an accomplishment.

    I used to write, but I wasn’t especially gifted with it. Or better put, I was much better with short vignettes of real life, than I was with fictitous stories from inside my head. Now, I’m mostly an artist– I write for my blog, but that’s about it– and I think the literary world is much better for that 😉

    *~* Julia *~* http://beautifullywhimsical.blogspot.com *~*

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    1. I agree and that is what I must keep telling myself. The waiting and wondering is so hard, though. Thank you for dropping by. This A-Z thing has been really fun so far

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  3. Since you already have fingers and toes covered, Jenny, I’ll take eyeballs.

    I so relate to the angst of the wait. And, I’m blessed to be past the tear stage on rejections. I get a hiccup of emotion. A moment of grief. Then, I move on. My piece wasn’t right for that publication/editor/agent/judge. The ones I truly dislike are rejections that provide no advice on the reason(s). So, I keep studying my craft, keep writing, keep going!

    Keep us posted on your (eye-balls crossed) good news.

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