Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not Tossin' Baby Out with the Bathwater...

I allow myself twenty-four hours to sulk. To rub my soul raw. To question. To doubt. To throw up my hands in resignation. To stare at myself in the bathroom mirror and say "Damn."

(Actually, I say the F-word.)

Then... Then after sighing a final "Oh, well," I shut it down. Time to move on.

r e j e c t i o n

Really, so I have to explain it? No, I don't think so. If you're a writer and you've never known rejection... well, when did Stephen King begin reading my blog? LOL. (Really, I think even he's been rejected.)

Rejection is merely part of the writing process, and actually I've had some nice turnarounds on rejected stories. Trish Cacek rejected my submission for Bell, Book, and Beyond. She did it with a green letter with a frog. In her notes, she said she liked the story, but it wasn't "witchy" enough. She made some suggestions about it and recommended I sub it to Cemetery Dance magazine. I considered her thoughtful words on the story, but laughed out loud at imaging selling the story to Rich Chizmar at CD.

But thinking I really had nothing to lose, I sent it.

He bought it. It was my first professional sale.

A couple of years later, I subbed a story to Jean Rabe for one of her anthologies. She liked my writing and the story, but already had accepted one that included elements of my story. She asked for some changes. As I considered how to rework the story, the friend who asked to see what I'd subbed advised me he had shown it to a friend of his who just happened to be putting together an anthology of his own. The friend of my friend wanted the story, so I explained my dilemma to Jean, and she said go for it!

Two things came from that rejection: Jean remembered me for her next anthology. And "A Thousand Words" shared the TOC (Table of Contents) with some very fine writers including Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, and my friend, Mort Castle, in Masques V, edited by J.N. Williamson and Gary A. Braunbeck.

Of course, not all my rejections have worked out so well, but then a number of my sales haven't either. A book gets cancelled, a publishing house goes belly-up, or someone changes his/her mind. Things happen.

What is not to be forgotten is rejection, like A C C E P T A N C E, is all part of the game.

Of course, when I make a sale, I give myself far more than twenty-four hours to celebrate. Though I think I still use that same F-word. Just a few more times. It sounds totally different when I'm grinning.

"Take chances. It may be bad, but it's the only way to do something good." William Faulkner

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