I’m about thirty pages away from finishing a revision of a novel I wrote when I was twenty-four years old, almost twenty-three years ago. It was my first completed novel. A lesbian romance. I was proud of it. Proud that I had finally accomplished something I had wanted to do since I was a young girl–write a book.
I sent a query letter and a synopsis of the story to a lesbian publisher, and they responded with a request of the manuscript and a phone call explaining the process.
I was stoked.
Three weeks later, I received a rejection letter.
I remember the deflating feeling of holding that letter in my hand. Such a short letter that shattered my dreams. Though I didn’t stop writing and spent the rest of my 20’s writing and coming up with ideas for stories, it would be fourteen years before I’d submit a manuscript to another publisher.
The delay wasn’t because I was distraught at having been rejected. Rejections are a part of the writing process. Most writers will come to know that all too well.
Life simply had gotten in the way of my writing. But once life had settled a bit and I was able to embrace my passion for writing once again, I pulled out my old stories and worked on the revisions that were badly needed.
Some of those older stories have now been published. A Penny on the Tracks and Annabel and the Boy in the Window are two of them. The one I’m working on now, the one that was my first completed novel, tentatively titled Yet, Here we Are, will hopefully be published sometime later this year.
When I pulled that story from the old bin and settled into rereading it, I was not surprised at all that it had been rejected. If I wanted to make the story publishable, I’d need to revise–a lot.
Aside from the rookie writer mistakes of telling over showing, lack of character development, bland dialogue, and lackluster descriptions of settings, I had labeled this book as a romance, and then preceded to kill off the other woman, the love interest, in a horrid plan crash.
That was it. That was how my idea of a romance story should end. I was twenty-four. Maybe a bit jaded about love already, but I’ve since revamped the story and hopefully made it more palatable for the lovers of romance.
No one dies. Oh wait, shoot, someone does die, but it’s not the love interest. So that’s okay, right?
We’ll see once the story is out there.
Time will tell if another rejection letter awaits me.
Until then, keep on writing.
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