The Next Circle of Hell

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Status
Not open for further replies.

Putputt

permanently suctioned to Buz's leg
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,428
Reaction score
2,905
I'm feeling so incredibly down about this whole experience. I start to make progress on a WIP, then BAM, bad news knocks me down, and it's hard to stay encouraged. I know the best (and only) way to push past the rejections is to have new material to submit, but the negative thoughts make it hard to move forward on my next project. And even though I'm happy for other authors out there with good news, it's hard to see without thinking, "Why can't that be me? Why aren't I good enough?".

Sorry to be so negative, but you're the only ones I know going through the same thing! What helps you get past this? (other than simply writing; I'm really trying, but this whole thing's so discouraging)

:Hug2:
I've been there. When my agent was subbing my first book, I edited my second book and wrote my third book, which really helped. Writing the third book was pretty much the only thing that kept me sane. But now that my agent has told me she's not really interested in the third book, I'm right there with ya. I know I should move on and write a whole different book, but blaaarrrggghhhh, this whole thing's so discouraging. The thought of starting a whole new book and going through the shit of figuring out where the plot goes is emotionally exhausting. So no words of wisdom here for you, I'm afraid, just lotsa hugs. :) :Hug2:
 

Beckstah

Zen-ish
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Messages
640
Reaction score
99
I'm feeling so incredibly down about this whole experience. I start to make progress on a WIP, then BAM, bad news knocks me down, and it's hard to stay encouraged. I know the best (and only) way to push past the rejections is to have new material to submit, but the negative thoughts make it hard to move forward on my next project. And even though I'm happy for other authors out there with good news, it's hard to see without thinking, "Why can't that be me? Why aren't I good enough?".

Sorry to be so negative, but you're the only ones I know going through the same thing! What helps you get past this? (other than simply writing; I'm really trying, but this whole thing's so discouraging)

(((((((brs)))))) In my case, it helps not to deny that I'm feeling awful. I used to feel guilty whenever I felt down, and I still do, to a certain extent: I have met amazing people, I'm with a fantastic agent, and I've gotten some tremendously lucky breaks to get this far. But I haven't sold yet, and it's really, really hard.

It's frustrating, accepting that I haven't found my place in the market yet, and I might not get anywhere this time either. But getting frustrated is more productive for me than getting discouraged - and it keeps me moving and writing!
 

JoyMC

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
1,212
Reaction score
179
Location
Seattle-ish
Website
www.joymcculloughcarranza.com
I'm right there with you all, feeling awful. So...at least we're not alone?

I've written and completed another MS since the first one went on sub. (The first one we've subbed, by NO means the first one I'd written.) Now that second one is also on sub and I'm trying to get going on my next project. I know it's the only thing to distract me - to get me excited about something else. I think I'm a little paralyzed about my ability to write something that will sell to this market, though. I have four very solid and completely different ideas, so I've written query-style blurbs for them and am now working on writing first chapters for all of them. Then I shall ask the agent to determine which one I should write. I feel like I could get excited about any of them.

I'm starting to think I should turn off her Gmail chat button because it's on so often and it gives me this awful mixture of hope and dread to see it there, knowing she's out there doing agent-y things, that she could email at any time but probably won't...
 

whiporee

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
563
Reaction score
77
Location
8700 foot above sea level, 1500 miles from the oce
Website
www.abeachday.com
So ....

I'm going to pose this to you all, and see if you've got an ideas.

This is the latest R&R.

Ultimately, it seemed to me that the book should have started immediately with the reporter’s disappearance and the death of the professor—the author could cut out the first 50 pages of the novel without losing much and get to the action quicker.

I’m sorry that this didn’t end up being quite the right fit at the moment, but if the author ends up revising to significantly condense the beginning, I’d love to take a second look then.


I'm perfectly okay with revising, but that's a pretty major change because those first 50 pages set up a lot that happens later. That's workable. But I'm not sure she got past the first 50 pages, because there's stuff you wouldn't not mention, so I'm wondering whether you all think it makes sense to dive back into the beginnings again. At some point this stuff feels like chasing your tail, you know? like you're making every little change you can make to try to make someone happy who you don't even know you can make happy ... I don't know. If I felt like she had read the whole book and wanted this change, no problem. But since I don't, I'm having a tough time psyching myself up to dive back in.

That said, I may just be being an artiste and cringing about my baby. I don't know. She is willing to see it again, and that's something. But I've had three R&Rs, all wanting different things -- do I make one big change and incorporate them all, or do I specify each one for each editor? And it's not like any of them actually offered -- it's just a lot of work and heartbreak for what if. Plus, it pulls me out of the new one,a nd it always takes me a while to get back in if I even can.

That's my whine for the day. Any suggestions?
 

MandyHarbin

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
308
Reaction score
35
Website
www.mandyharbin.com
(((brs and others))) ... I think it's completely normal to feel down during this process. It takes sooo much hard work to get to this point in our careers. It's like we're alllllmoooost there but keep getting tripped on the last leg of the race, so much so that we're limping and bleeding and questioning if it's worth it to keep trying to reach the finish line. For me, sometimes slapping a Band-aid on those wounds works. Other times I need a complete mental break from it all, and so I take it. There have been times when I don't even write, and I think that's okay. I use that time to read, do projects around the house, basically giving myself a breather to forge ahead.
 

MandyHarbin

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
308
Reaction score
35
Website
www.mandyharbin.com
Whip, that's a toughy. I got an extensive R&R from an editor on my first sub who I didn't feel read the entire manuscript. I also hadn't agreed with her changes. I worried it'd come across as diva-ish, but I hadn't had a problem with comments from other editors (and even did a re-write based on those). I had to fight my instinct to spend time re-writing it when I didn't agree with the comments because part of me thought "just do whatever it takes to seal the deal." I told my agent my concerns and even she thought they weren't the right fit, so I didn't bother with it.

I think if you can look at your work objectively (not... oh, I can't kill my darlings...) and decide the change isn't right, then don't do it. However, if you can incorporate all the comments and take a stab at the re-write, you'll have three editors looking at your work again.
 

hester

New year, new avatar.
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 24, 2008
Messages
1,563
Reaction score
272
Location
On the edge.
Whip, Mandy has good advice. I'd also check with your agent, to see if she/he thinks it's worthwhile to go for it. Since you have several R & Rs, maybe there's a way to consolidate the feedback without compromising the plot, voice, etc.?

I may be getting a R & R from one of the houses we subbed to, and at this point I'm ready to plunge in. We still have a bunch of subs out, but no responses since August.
 

brs18041

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 5, 2014
Messages
78
Reaction score
2
((((everyone))))

Thanks for all the hugs and supportive words! Even though it sucks for all of us, it's comforting to know I'm not alone in this.

I'm tired of losing sleep over this (ha, literally), so am trying to turn my attitude around. I tried taking a break from writing for a while, but that only made me feel guilty for my lack of productivity. But then my productivity falters upon getting bad news. I'll just have to go get thicker skin. Or stop checking my email entirely. (Yeah, right.) :p
 

MandyHarbin

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 17, 2012
Messages
308
Reaction score
35
Website
www.mandyharbin.com
Brs, I know authors who get into a funk for DAYS after reading a lackluster review of their book. We can't please everybody all of the time, which also applies to Editors.

~Mandy...who needs to learn to take her advice. :D
 

JoyMC

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 13, 2010
Messages
1,212
Reaction score
179
Location
Seattle-ish
Website
www.joymcculloughcarranza.com
Personally, when editors say something like "it needs to start 50 pages later" it seems to me to be the reason they're giving so they can give a reason, but it's probably also a broader issue of the manuscript not being the right fit/not loving it enough. Because if feeling like it needed to start 50 pages in was the *only* issue, they'd offer and that would be part of the editing process.

I've had a couple editors say "I'd take another look if she X" but my agent doesn't think it's the right thing to do and that we can still find someone w/o revising or just sell a different book. I wouldn't mind doing an R & R if the comments resonated AND my agent thought it was a worthwhile move, but that hasn't happened yet.
 

Fuchsia Groan

Becoming a laptop-human hybrid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,518
Reaction score
555
Location
The windswept northern wastes
(((((((Everybody))))))))

Most of you have heard my submission sob story from 2012, so I won't repeat it, just say that sometimes things turn around when you least expect it. For me that involved writing another book, getting a new agent, and having a few dark nights of the soul along the way.

And for every milestone we reach, there are more disappointments down the road. :evil But just getting to editors' desks — that's a huge milestone and validation, I think.

Whip, Mandy has good advice. I'd also check with your agent, to see if she/he thinks it's worthwhile to go for it. Since you have several R & Rs, maybe there's a way to consolidate the feedback without compromising the plot, voice, etc.?

What hester and Mandy said. My agent was pretty forthcoming about which editor critiques she agreed with. If yours is, too, that could be helpful.

"The book starts too early/slowly" is such a common critique — probably for the reason Joy cited. It's hard to evaluate it without reading those first 50 pages, and possibly the entire book to see how the first 50 set everything up. Granted, if the editor didn't read the whole book, she won't realize how it all fits together. Then again, she may be assuming that readers will stop where she did — in which case, for her, the opening isn't doing its job of enticing the reader to continue, even if it's doing other important things.

So my question would be: Have other readers found the opening a bit slow or unwieldy? If not, this could be a total non-issue. If so, perhaps there's a way to make it more deft without chopping the whole thing off. She does say "significantly condensing," which wouldn't mean eliminating it entirely. Still, that's a big step, one you would really need to be on board with.

hester, good luck on the R&R!
 
Last edited:

Putputt

permanently suctioned to Buz's leg
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,428
Reaction score
2,905
Thank you for the hugs, everyone!! :)

So my question would be: Have other readers found the opening a bit slow or unwieldy? If not, this could be a total non-issue. If so, perhaps there's a way to make it more deft without chopping the whole thing off. She does say "significantly condensing," which wouldn't mean eliminating it entirely. Still, that's a big step, one you would really need to be on board with.

I think this is good advice. Also ask your agent what she thinks, of course.
 

whiporee

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 22, 2013
Messages
563
Reaction score
77
Location
8700 foot above sea level, 1500 miles from the oce
Website
www.abeachday.com
Well, we froze the other submissions. My agent loves the book -- reiterated that she's never giving up on this book ever -- so she's a hard one to ask. But we agreed that there are somethings I can do to speed up the first section and hopefully it won't mess up too much else. She's not sure the editor made it through the entire book, but we've had a couple of other suggestions of speeding up the first section (in different ways, of course. because why make it easy?) so maybe there's merit. And it never hurts to make it faster, right?

So back to work. Thanks for the advice everyone.
 

Quickbread

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 16, 2011
Messages
1,099
Reaction score
162
Location
Somewhere between the beginning and the end
(((((((More hugs for everyone!)))))))

Whip, the one really bright spot that I see in all of this is that you've had a great chance to see how committed your agent is to your work and you. That's so wonderful that she's willing to fight for this manuscript. Sounds like you're really lucky to have her in your corner. Good luck with your revisions. Can you think of similar or complementary books with faster beginnings that might give you some ideas for packing the setup stuff more tightly?
 

Calla Lily

Charmingly manic
Staff member
Moderator
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Feb 12, 2005
Messages
38,087
Reaction score
15,924
Location
Non carborundum illegitimi
Website
www.aliceloweecey.net
I haven't been on sub in a couple of years, since the last book The Agent and I pulled for worldbuilding revisions. Got a bunch of glowing rejections. "Rejections" being the operative word.

I can feel my hair dye failing already.

(I hate posting from my phone.)
 
Last edited:

Fuchsia Groan

Becoming a laptop-human hybrid
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Sep 27, 2008
Messages
2,518
Reaction score
555
Location
The windswept northern wastes
Go, Lily! May you have a speedy sale! And speznas, wasabi peas and good-bad movies to make the waits go faster. :)

Is this one YA, or paranormal, or a third category?
 

Putputt

permanently suctioned to Buz's leg
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 10, 2012
Messages
5,428
Reaction score
2,905
Got room for one more? I'm officially on sub too. :chair

YEA Calla!! Wheeeeee! You got this. I hope your wait is sooper short and ends with a violent auction in which editors tear at each other's throats to buy your bewk! :D
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Featured Book