Monday, November 1, 2010

Teen Inklings Vol. 16: Rejection

Last night I finished writing my fantasy novella (The Scarlet Key) for submission to a publisher. I shipped it off (via e-mail, as the guidelines required) and it's probably now sitting un-opened in the publisher's inbox. What will happen with it? I don't know. But I hope you get the chance to read it someday.

A bit of shameless backstory: After I first finished The Scarlet Key I was on a bit of an emotional high. I decided it was good enough to submit to a press--something I'd never done before. I found and bought an envelope big enough to fit my story into (not as easy as it sounds), and shipped it off. Shortly after I received a rejection letter detailing all the reasons I wasn't good enough.

I'm not a stranger to rejection. But it's interesting how things are so subjective, especially in the literary world.

For example: Contest judge #1 says I have wonderful voice, a sound grasp of my craft, and descriptions that bring my storyworld to life. Judge #2 says I have no voice, no talent with my genre, and no idea what I'm doing when it comes to description.

True story.

I sometimes wonder if writers let their bitterness get a hold of them more often than the average person. This industry doesn't exactly match the typical writer's personality, and it doesn't help that we're all so darn opinionated. I've observed that unpublished writers are generally more cranky than the published ones, and I won't say that doesn't make sense. It does, and it's the reason for all those rude comments on agent blogs. But there is a good way to handle rejection and there is a bad way.

If someone rejects you, DON'T GIVE UP! Take that rejection and funnel it into your efforts to better yourself, while realizing that one person's opinion isn't always the right (or best) opinion. Most of all, though, don't let rejection get you down. If you truly aren't ready yet, realize that if you persist you'll eventually succeed. Success isn't always measured by receiving the title Published Author, and in the end it's God you have to please, not others, and certainly not yourself.

As I mentioned, I'm waiting for feedback on The Scarlet Key. I believe in the story. I hope things work out and it gets published. However, I believe I've already succeeded at this writing game. How many prospective writers actually finish a novel during their lifetime?

(Oh, and I'll let you decide which of the aforementioned judges had checked the "Published Author" box at the bottom of their critique. ;)


  1. Congratulations Christian! That's awesome, good luck on The Scarlet Key. Even the title sounds intriguing!

    God Bless,


  2. Awesome! Thanks for the encouragement. :) Goodluck and Blessings in everything you're doing. I'm sure its great. And I doubt its worth being rejected. Perhaps God is just preparing you for something better... :)


  3. Thanks, an enlightening post as always! I'll keep it in mind once I get to the querying process. Here's wishing you luck on your novella! Hope you get published!

    S. Dahnim

  4. I so needed this post... right now. Thanks.

    I mean, last night I practically had a breakdown when I started thinking about my submissions. I keep thinking things are wrong with them, I go in to fix the problems, start reading the manuscript instead, decide that it's the way I want it, close my laptop, worry over what the editor will think, and the whole thing starts all over again. I do have someone looking at it, but I'm such a nervous wreck... *lol* Never done this before, you know, and I really hope he's impressed. But then, don't all authors who submit anything into the clutches of a publisher, editor, or agent? It's so scary, right?

    "The Scarlet Key"... hmmm... *savors name* sounds intriguing. I'll be on the lookout. Good luck! *thumbs up*

  5. Christian, I know plenty of grumpy published writers, as well☺.

    The valuation of writing is subjective because literature is art. That can work against us, but if we embrace it, it can also be freeing: instead of struggling to make a story perfect, just understand that it can never be perfect for everyone. For all the choices writers have in telling a story, none is right and none is wrong.

    I'm anxiously awaiting The Scarlet Key's publication so I read it and celebrate your victory with you.

  6. Nichole, don't give up! It's those writers who keep on going and going and persevere, and continue refining their craft, that get the prize! Be your spunky self and stick to it! :)

    P.S. I think I saw this post before ... how? Hmm. O_o. Maybe I saw a pre-posted version when you were here for the TDF trailer. Very good points too, Chris, and you have a great voice whatever they say. And you have things to SAY too.

    ~Adele :)

  7. Your posts always encourage me :)
    Thanks for this motivating update to the teen author

    ~God's child and scribe

  8. Adele: *lol* Don't worry! :D I'm not giving up. I love it too much for that! I could never stop writing... ever!

  9. Chris, only recently did I get a Google account, so I hit 'Follow' on here just now. :P lol

    Awesome post! I wish you success (notice I didn't say luck ;) with the Scarlet Key. :D