In a red-letter day for rejections – five – I went beyond my wildest rejection dreams. I received two rejections for short pieces and three rejections from literary agents for my novel.
I’m of the philosophy that writers who aim for 100 rejections a year get rejected more because we send out more. But we also get published more – because we send out more.
In other news, my short story that was accepted by Dale Peck for Evergreen Review is supposed to run any day/week. The story, “The Great Ultimate,” is an adaptation of one chapter from the novel I am currently trying to place. My hope is that agents read this respected magazine and will call me, for once.
The Days of Awe are the ten days between the new year, Rosh ha Shanna, and the final day of awe, Yom Kippur. Jews, so goes the law, have these ten days to make right anything from the year just ending. Then, on Yom Kippur, so-called Day of Atonement, you can stand (as I think of it) At-One-ment with God.
It is a marvelous yearly cycle that keeps me up to date with my amends and my humanity.
Graphic by the artist Noam Weiner. The Hebrew letters read: Shana Tova, meaning, “a good and sweet year.” Say it to a Jew! (Graphic by Noam Weiner. The Hebrew letters spell, “Shana Tova” a good and sweet year.)
Someone on Facebook asked for information about maximizing time when on a research trip for a novel. What ho!
Set a time every day to FaceTime or Skype with your children.
Have something else going on. For example, I practice Tai Chi. I knew that there would be a lot of parks where the Chinese community practiced in the early mornings. I made a point to be in the neighborhood park by 6am. I met so many caring locals. They told me great places to eat and insider tips about the city that your characters need to know. One also helped me figure out which neighborhood in Bangkok my main character would live in.
Spend more time on your book than seeing the sights. Limit sight seeing to elements that appear in the book.
Write or edit on the plane. You write; food arrives. Tea arrives. Life doesn’t get better–until your kids arrive!
Use your computer rather than a notebook. On days I used my notebook, I was too exhausted to transfer my notes. Still haven’t.
Go to a library. My novel is set in the mid-90s. In the 90s, no newspaper in Cambodia published on-line. I went to the library at the Hun Sen University and read bound, back issues of newspapers.
Although I am 32 REJECTIONS shy of my goal of 100 for the year, I have somehow SUBMITTED 100 short pieces. As those pieces are reviewed, I expect to hit my goal of 100 rejections. 😀
As of this moment, I have 52 submissions out–short pieces, that is. I submitted my novel, As Far as You Can Go Before You Have to Come Back, to seven different agents. I received a single form rejections. One. The rest: crickets. Even from the agents I knew or had a personal connection to; and those who had asked to review the complete novel as well. Chirp chirp.
Taking a critical look at my submission pages (usually, the first 30-50), I realized that in revising, I had opened the book at a chapter that was, mmmm, well, dull as a opener.
I am re-working on the opening. And the rest of the book. I found a new editor, to give it a fresh eye. Do eyes other than my own refresh a manuscript! I expect to be approaching agents by mid- to late month.