I’ve been writing my Chronicles of Fallhollow trilogy for years. Yes, I said years. I started a long time ago, mainly as a passing fancy. Then, something happened in 2003 and I knew in my heart and soul I had to finish it.
I also knew it would have to be three books; otherwise I would have one, 300,000 word novel. Big NOT. I wrote here and there, working on all three novels when the urge hit me, but came to an abrupt halt about a year later. It wasn’t working. My writing was lacking that umph. I needed help.
I began to read young adult books and fantasy books with a passion. I also began to research the publishing world. I found out that agents and publishers wanted stand alone books in trilogies or in a series, meaning they had to be complete unto themselves, even though the story continued. Back to the drawing board.
I continued to write when I could find time between taking care of a family and working full-time. I joined an online writer’s group out of the UK – YouWriteOn.com and began getting feedback. With the critiques came praises along with a few slaps in the face. The slaps in the face were the ones that woke me up to the problems, while the praises kept me motivated. I have to admit I almost gave up, especially after a critique partner told me I should let the story go to its grave. “Sometimes,” he said, “it’s better to let it go than continue trying to resurrect the damn thing.”
Let it go? Was he crazy? This was my baby…the novel closest to my heart. I’d written others. They’re gone now, lost, destroyed. This wasn’t my first attempt…but it was the first time I felt so passionate about the need to tell this story and get it published.
After I lost my job in 2010, I focused on nothing but my writing. I set myself a goal, found a few great beta readers, and off I went to finish In the Shadow of the Dragon King. Exactly one year later, almost to the date of setting my goal, I submitted my novel to a publisher. I knew it wasn’t perfect but I’d polished it the best I could. With bated breath I waited. And waited. Three weeks later I got a response. The message: it needs work, but we’d love to see you resubmit if you decide you want to make the enclosed changes.
When I opened my attached manuscript, it was bleeding. A lot. I mean, it was mortally wounded. I got a hold of one of my trusted beta partners and sobbed. When I got over the pain of being kicked in the gut, she and I went over the comments and changes. We both realized I had a goldmine in my hand. A publisher took a lot of time to go through my manuscript, page by page, line by line, and tell me what was wrong with it, what I needed to fix, and if I decided to make the changes, to resubmit.
That was eleven months ago. Life got in the way during that time, slowing down my momentum to re-write. I have a month and a half to finish my revisions and send it back by the ‘not exactly a rejection’ anniversary date. Should I stick with it or let it go? I’m definitely sticking with it.
Have you ever had a project you almost gave up on only to be glad you didn’t?
- How to Handle Rejection (terrywhalin.blogspot.com)
- The Biggest and Most Common Mistake in Rejected Manuscripts, Part 1 (writelikerowling.com)
- From idea to finished manuscript (joycewayne.wordpress.com)
- A full manuscript rejection – or a gold mine? (long series of posts based on my ‘rejection’)