Friday, April 26, 2013

The Sweet Taste of Rejection

There seems to be a lot of blog posts recently about "rejection" ~ how to deal with rejection, how to view rejection, how to learn from rejection, etc.

In fact, I recently read that we should appreciate  and maybe even celebrate rejection.  Why is that?  Well, as a writer we need to put ourselves "out there" through submitting.  So...the feeling is that if we are truly doing our jobs, we will be submitting and getting rejected.  Therefore, rejection is a kind of badge of honor or sign that we are doing what we are supposed to be doing.

But no matter how you spin it, rejection stings. 

I am not one to submit to twenty agents or editors all at once.  I am pretty picky.  Afterall, if I really want to form a relationship with said agent or editor, I should do my research and be selective as to who I query.  But it does lead to an even bigger sting when your net is not cast that widely.  This was the case back in early March when I received not one, but TWO rejections in a matter of an hour.  Ouch!  My reaction?  I immediately walked to the nearest chocolate.

I have come up with my own way of making rejection taste sweeter, and I would like to share my strategy with you.  It's called...REJECTION CHOCOLATE!

1)  Get a jar with a lid and fill it with your absolutely favorite chocolate or candy of choice.  Mine is filled with Cadbury Mini Eggs...which are not easy to find now that Easter is over.

2)  Place the jar near your work area to serve as motivation.

3)  Start submitting your work to your dream agents or editors.  Do your job!

4)  Don't touch candy.

If you get a rejection, AND ONLY IF YOU GET A REJECTION,

5)  you get to open the jar and eat a few pieces!!!  You deserve it.  You are a real writer.

6)  If you get so many rejections that you empty the jar, celebrate and refill jar.

If you get an acceptance,

7)  Chocolate serves as a Celebration Chocolate!  (choose candy wisely, so that it tastes good with champagne, too).

So what are you waiting for?  Fill a jar, get writing and submitting and next time you pop that jar you will have something to celebrate!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Conferences: One-on-One Manuscript Critique Help

Back in January I declared 2013 to be "The Year I Put Myself Out There."  Meaning that after spending the last 2 years focusing on building knowledge of the field and honing my craft, I would start to seek representation in 2013.  It is time to show people what I got.

As part of this personal goal, I am getting incredibly excited about attending both the New Jersey SCBWI conference in June and the SCBWI Summer Conference in LA in August. 

Nothing beats getting to hang with my Tribe for the weekend, but it won't be all fun and games.  I am planning on using conference time to make connections, especially with agents.  Therefore, I need to be very strategic in my planning.

For both conferences I intend to participate in One-on-One Manuscript Critiques with agents, editors and authors.  But here's my dilemma, I don't know what pieces to submit for critique.

Maybe you can help.

I have 3 manuscripts to consider:

MS #1 ~ This is a manuscript that is submission-ready AND has gotten the attention of agents in the past.  In fact, this manuscript is currently being considered by an agent.  So, I am not truly looking for critique on it, but would it be beneficial to submit it for one-on-one thinking that someone else might fall in love with it?  Or is that not the purpose of these meetings?

MS #2 ~ This manuscript is very close to being submission-ready.  I think it still needs some tweaking, but its almost there. 

MS #3 ~ This is my problem manuscript.  I have gotten so many compliments on the premise and the beginning, but the climax and resolution are really giving me difficulty. 

What would you suggest?

Which manuscript would you show to an agent?  To an editor? To an author?  What is the best foot to put forward?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Need Space?

Last week I celebrated my birthday and entered the end of yet another decade.  Now, although I often feel (and have been told, look) younger than I am, there are certain things that make me feel old.  For example:
  • receiving a holiday card from a former student...and their spouse...and their 3 kids.
  • finding myself gagging at the thought of eating a frosted Pop Tart.
  • hearing the songs that were hits when I was in college on the classic rock station.
  • spotting my favorite childhood toy in an antique store.
  • discovering that the children who were born the day I graduated from high school can now legally buy alcohol.
  • and the list goes on and on...
However, the newest addition to the list shocked me to my core.  Let me set the scene...

You are typing a sentence.  You type a period.  And then before you start the next sentence, how many spaces do you add?

My answer is 2.  That is how I was taught.

The young whipper-snappers I questioned about it said 1. 

My reaction?  They are "no-good hippies" and I said, "Get off my lawn!"

Anyway.  In all seriousness, I did a little research and learned that although I was taught to insert 2 spaces, that is because I was taught on a typewriter.  I was taught before different fonts existed.

According to a recent article on, "With the dawn of computers, word processing programs not only began offering an absurd number of fonts, but each font was programmed to space characters proportionally (“l” takes up about a third of the space “w” does). In turn, most computer fonts will automatically give you enough room between sentences with one space. So, as a rule of thumb, use just one space when typing up your manuscript on a computer."

I had no idea.

I'm not sure that this old dog can be taught a new trick.  It is kind of second nature to insert that second space. 

What about you?  One space or two?  I am curious to find out.