Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The No Spark Rejection

If you're a writer and any kind of good, you'll inevitably get past form rejections and make it to the big leagues of actual comments on your work.

Wow. An agent/editor was moved enough to give a personalized rejection!

But this can be bitter sweet.

Sometimes they might offer helpful feedback that, if you agree with it, can help you fix an area of your manuscript you and your CPs hadn't caught. Heck, they might even request a rewrite.

Other times it's not so helpful.

The "no spark" rejection, also known as the "didn't connect" or "just didn't love it the way I wanted to" rejection, is a big, acrid jug of "no thanks".

And there's nothing you can do about it. Often these rejections are attached with comments saying there's nothing wrong with your work. Not one dang thing! You have great characters, an interesting premise, the pacing is right, there are no cliches--but....

It's a case of "she's just not that into you".

These kinds of rejections can be hard to take. "But you said there's nothing wrong with it!" As productive human beings we struggle with the thought that there is nothing to fix. No flick of the wand that'll brush things up for the next agent/editor.

But on the flip side of things, you don't have to fix anything. Move on to the next agent. Send the work out to the next editor. Just like dating, you can't get bent out of shape over one person, even if you thought you guys would be great together and you really just "knew" it was going to happen.

I've thought about this over the last month in great detail. And I've thought of books I have on my shelf that I didn't really like.

Pet Semetary - Meh. Didn't think it was that scary, just really sad. It made me hug my one-year-old son tighter every day, but I didn't feel that "spark".

The Name of the Wind - I picked it up thinking the hordes of people praising it couldn't be wrong. But they were, at least, in comparison to what I like. It wasn't a bad book. It just wasn't that great. I had higher hopes for it.

Divergent, The Hunger Games, and a good many other YA books - They were written in present tense. I disdain present tense, and that's putting it gently. Not that it means the books are bad. They just don't fit into my wheel of cool.

And this is just my opinion, my taste. I am but one individual and there are plenty others with differing views. It's the same with the people you submit to. They're people--fallible, unique.

But that's what makes this journey we've endeavored to begin so magical. It might take you a few tries at the arcane table. You might have to send more than one raven with your potion of awesome.

It's hard. But that doesn't mean it's not worth it.

-- Sean

No comments:

Post a Comment