Monday, April 19, 2010

Triumph and Tragedy

Why do women feel the constant need for cutting each other down?

That is a rhetorical question which has nothing (or everything) to do with this entry. Recently I received a publisher's response from a house I had honestly forgotten I had submitted to. The fact that is was a negative isn't the story. It's what they said that is the subject of my posting.

Once I read their comments I remembered why I sent a query to them. They promised a honest assessment of their rejection. Now, I'm getting used to the "no thank you" letters from publishers. However, what I am having a problem with is what they said next.

They told me I had no story development in the 50 pages I submitted.

Wow. Low blow.

Now, I will confess the opening is probably the only part of my book even I struggled with. My awesome editor (who shall remain nameless except to say that he is my hero) had me cut a lot of the opening right away. That ended up being about eighteen pages, which I am slowly working out my frustration concerning by blogging. But now, even he admits more needed to be lost. And that's probably my fault.

As a writer, I have a hard time separating myself from what I write. I have spent a long time developing this story. These characters have been living in my head for years and I feel a duty to tell their story as honestly and deeply as I hear it internally. To know that I have to separate myself from this and look at the story from a commercial side is hard.

Which in a very round about way brings me to the opening sentence. Girls, in a nutshell, can be very cruel. It is one reason I am not an extremely verbal person. I've never run in the popular group, most people think I am stuck up when I am actually only paralyzingly shy. Girls are like sharks. They swim around in packs looking for weaknesses they can exploit.

Currently my daughter is experiencing the painful lesson that teenage girls are two faced, and it is painful to see her bewilderment at the sudden changes in those she thought her friends. Why do others have to cut down the smallest in the herd? I tell her to try and let it go, but she is just like me. She takes everything way to personal.

Thin skinned people are in for a hard time in this highly competitive culture we live in . Whether they are writers or painters or poets or twelve year old girls, we have to choose what we allow to injure us and to always remember that it can only damage our souls if we let the barb penetrate that deep.

Women are cruel, publishers are even crueler, but teenage girls are killers.

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