Writing, and the pursuit of publication is fraught with more ups and downs than expereinced by a bordellos bedsprings. I've had good days and not so good days. But what is the worst? Once upon a time I wrote query letter after query letter to agents seeking representation. As a result I received a very impressive collection of form rejection letters. Then one day I ripped open one of my returned Self Addressed Stamped Envelopes and spotted the unmistakable scribbling of real live, handwritten ink. My hopes soared. Then I read the personalized note.
Sorry, but your meandering storytelling and excessive verbiage does not appeal to me now or never. OUCH!
But looking back that agent was right. My sample pages, as well as the entire manuscript was not ready for submission. I could take a bit of solace in the fact that particular fellow is no longer an agent, but I don't. His words hurt at the time, but they were true and a great motivator in the end. How about the first time I entered the contest for our local conference? I was confident eager, feeling good that I would at least make the finals. But nope, not with my novel or the three short stories I entered. And then I got the judges remarks back. Trust me you had to search hard and long for a silver lining to that cloud of despair. But I have since cashed checks from numerous contests including that one, so once again I filed that experience into the motivator file. No one with a penis between their legs has the right to write a single word about abortion.
Yep I heard that one face-to-face within the last year. Needless to say that particular editor did not ask to read more of my novel. Not even when I mentioned Cider House Rules by John Irving. In truth this one didn't shake me too bad. I think I handled myself well in both our initial talk and then again later when she started to apologize and then uttered the statement from above. This happened fairly recently and these days I have enough confidence in both my writing and the story to not take such a comment too hard. Then there was the time I got into a heated, forty-five minute discussion with a seventy something year old critique partner about the usage of the F word in literature. Somehow, I became the Johnny Cochran of literary obscenities and only later did I find it highly humorous that I had debated the F word with a little old lady for nearly an hour. Not my proudest moment, but I still stand by my argument that sometimes no other word will work. Depends on the story and the character. A close contender might be the time an agent read the entire manuscript, called me to talk about it, then passed, albeit regrettably. I let my hopes get up too much on that one and at least I got close. Besides she urged me to send her future projects and not only would I be honored to one day work with her, but I also believe I get better with each new project I tackle. So, that still doesn't answer to question. What is my worst days when it comes to writing? I've known the answer all along, but what kind of writer spills the beans right off the bat? My worst writing days are the days in which I do no writing at all. These are the dark times when I kick myself and say, You could have penned three or four pages in the time it took to play that one game of Playstation football. Or that one hour of television cost you at least two pages. By the way, I watched K-Ville last night and highly recommend the new show, but then again I have a real soft spot for the entire city of New Orleans. See how easily I am distracted? Any way I feel like I have neglected my writing lately so for the time being expect a few less posts out of me. Three or four a week instead of five or six. And I might comment a bit less on your blogs, at least until I finish Plundered Booty the novel. My goal is to be submitting it by the first of the year. Wish me luck.