Monday, November 7, 2011

#1 Reason Your Book was REJECTED ... crappy writing.

I spent a bit of my weekend wondering about whether or not my writing is crap. I didn't dwell too much on this subject, though. After all, the answer is just too easy--Yes, sometimes my writing is doo-doo. Let me prove it: below is my first piece of writing that I remember constructing (I offer this if only to make my friends Jodi and Courtney giggle). It's a poem ...

"When the beast of burden calls your name,
Offer him a kiss, but don't lend him your tongue.
Each to his own and all to none."

(Please take into consideration that I wrote this poem in grade twelve--while I was possessed.)

My next piece of writing came after I made the discovery that I wanted to officially "Be a Writer!"(Keep in mind this was just AFTER my deliverance.) It's a children's book: Calli Coe and the Golden Armor of God ...

"Calvin the Warthog lives in a big city, where many other Warthogs live." (Need I go on?)

Realizing I wasn't a great children's author, I gave up on this particular children's book and went back to poetry ...

"It swept across my mind, drifted in like snow during fall;
Landing upon warn grass.
The Northern wind just carried it in;

Cold whispers of the chilling darkness that only it has seen." (A little better, I think.)

But then there was my first novel where I introduced the greatest character ever ... 

"I can vibrantly remember the moment I first met Emry Turlington. Intense, dramatic and colorful like fireworks is she. A devil of a woman you might say ...."

I think this adequately proves my writing is crap. But, really, I can't be too hard on myself because it represented my BEST writing at the time. Then one day--after I read Angela's Ashes--I made the marvelous decision to go back to school to learn to write. (Good idea.)

Well despite my start, I eventually published a poem in a magazine; I eventually received a phone call from a big publishing house in Canada asking me to send in my work for a children's book. I eventually signed with an agent and I eventually sold a novel. But, truthfully, through all this my writing was still doo-doo. How do I know my writing was doo-doo? Because, first of all, I don't write poetry (I have never studied poetry, or even read poetry and I have never written a poem since getting that one poem published.) Second, I did not get a contract from the big publishing house in Canada--because they went with a more mature writer. Thirdly, my agent couldn't sell my children's book (I have a wad of rejections). And lastly, when I sold my first novel--I knew there were serious issues with it--but I was hoping the publisher would fix them for me! (I didn't know fixing my doo-doo was my job.)

In the end, I don't think it matters if your writing is crap or if you sell crappy writing--as long as you are in the process of studying your genre and aiming to do your very best. But this is where the problem lies ... sometimes we send out material that is not our best. When we do this--and we writer's are aware when we do this (when we're so excited that we can't hold back, when we refuse to take time to edit our work one more time, when we're banking on our massive query mail-out to bag at least one completely desperate agent) we pretty much know the odds are against us. Sending out work that is not our best, is crappy writing. As our mentor M says, "'Good enough' is never good enough. So don't hope that it is and then send it on its way."
 So, is my writing crap? Yes, sometimes it is. Sorry to all agents out there who have received my crap. I will now aim to send only roses.

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