Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Rejections, uh, what are they good for?

Absolutely (a)nothing (b)everything (c) somewhere in between? I am not jaded by rejections, yet, and read from the right point of view they can be pretty helpful.

Last week I received another rejection from an agent that I have been in contact with. Don’t worry mom, I won’t be dropping any names or burning any bridges. This isn’t the first rejection I have received from this agent and I am sure it won’t be the last. For now, I won’t dwell on the down side of the rejections because that just doesn’t help at all.

While the rejections (from this agent) still mean that the story was rejected I have been able to use them as a positive impact on my stories. Let me explain. I have been fortunate enough to find an agent that has taken the time to review work from me, an author who isn’t a client. He not only reviews my work but also takes the time to write a critique. The professional critiques have been very helpful.

Excerpt from my first rejection: “I think there’s much to admire here, but I think the story is a bit too simple as is…I like the simplicity of the words and the art, but there just isn’t enough narrative”

This was my first submission to this agent and my first professional critique. I took to heart that my work wasn’t complete junk and that with a rewrite I could extend the story. I put the book away (figuratively) knowing that my brain would work its subconscious magic and figure out a way to extend the story. It only took about a month for my subconscious to work its magic and in the process of the rewrite I reworked every illustration and added about ten pages to the story. The resulting story and illustrations were so much better than the original. Now it is time for a re-submission.

Excerpt from the newest rejection: “While I know this style of illustration is popular, I’m afraid I’m just not taken with it…With the less realistic look, it was more difficult for me to sense the fear of the dragon’s scarier parts”

OK, what positives can I take from this rejection? I look at this as a rejection of the concept/story not the art. I know he didn’t care for the art but I think with a rewrite can make a big difference. After all, there were only eight different words in the whole story. I know I can expand the text to accentuate the illustrations to better convey the sense of fear that was lacking in the original version. Again, I am going to put this one away (figuratively) also and let it simmer. I am certain that the “true” story will emerge.

Yesterday, I submitted my third story proposal and time will tell if I will have yet another rejection to reflect on.

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