Thursday, January 27, 2011

Rewrites and Submissions

I’ve been doing a series of posts lately about submissions. Probably because I recently submitted a piece near and dear to my heart, and I don’t think I have enough fingernails to wait this one out.

But, I’ve submitted to New York houses, small press, and epublishers. The difference in their rejection letters amazes me. From standard form letters to informative constructive criticism.

I’ve decided that I prefer the latter. Especially if they provide criticism and then ask you to resubmit :-) Why? I guess the reasons are obvious. But, I think the most important reason for me is because I received some feedback. I feel like my story didn’t go unnoticed, and wasn’t readily thrown into the circular recycle bin. And, of course, if they ask for you to resubmit you get the wonderful “do over”.

But, what happens if you have an editor provide you with wonderful constructive criticism, and asks you to resubmit, and after doing so they reject your manuscript? How does that make you feel? Well, I’ll tell you it made me wonder why I spent so much time on the freaking rewrites. The story was rejected because they had received other stories that were similar, so I had to wonder why I was asked to do the rewrites and resubmit.

After I made it through my hazy maze of disappointment, I realized that I truly was thankful for the rewrite opportunity. It was as if I had one of the best critique partners ever. I really believe I delved deeper into the characters than I had originally. And even though that house didn’t accept it, I believe it will be accepted by another.

So, how do you feel about being asked to do rewrites for a submission, and being rejected? Or, being asked to do rewrites in general?


J L said...

I think it all depends on who is asking for the rewrite and what it is.

In my last round of edits for a romantic suspense book, my editor really pushed me to make my heroine older. One of the key points of the book was that the hero was in his 50s and she was in her 30s and he thought he was too old for her.

I pushed back and said, "Nope. Not changing it."

She pushed some more and I pushed back. I added a bit more to his motivation and why he felt that way, but in the end, we left it as is. I felt strongly that it was key to the story, so I wouldn't change it.

But you're right: just the request made me delve just that much deeper into the characters and, hopefully, add more to them for the reader.

Joan Leacott said...

Angela, I haven't been through the process yet, but imagine I'd be just as devastated as yourself. Anything that pushes the characters is good. JL, Brava for sticking up for your characters! Did your editor buy the MS?

Jill James said...

Wow, when I was asked to revise and resubmit I sold my book, so not sure how I would take rejection after all that work. I would hope, like you, that I would see it as making my story better and deeper and maybe just right for the next place I submit.

Joanne said...

Sometimes I don't think I write, because I'm always in stages of rewrite. To make it worse, I'm never satisfied with the edit, so I do it all over again the following day.