A Funny Thing Happened

never tryMy last submission was rejected. That’s not the funny part – rejection sucks. I know, I know – it’s not personal, and it’s supposed to happen.

The funny thing was this . . .

A year ago, I went to a conference and did a round of pitches to editors. Three editors each wanted to see a different manuscript. I did my best, as I knew it then, and submitted them. One was rejected and the other two were still in limbo.

Then, three weeks ago – right after my last rejection – one of those editors emailed me. “Is this still available? I’d like to see the whole thing.”

That has never happened to me.

Of course it’s still available. I opened the document and began editing (because I’ve learned a lot since I first submitted it). And another funny thing happened.

My hero has a favorite swear word (it rhymes with “truck”), but I think it’s a no-no for my prospective publisher. I needed to find a new word. Since he’s British, I went in search of a British word and found two websites – The Septic’s Companion and Effingpot. While I didn’t find a substitute, the discovery led me to some fabulous words: scarper (run away), cack-handed (clumsy), chuffed (pleased), muppet (dimwit), scrummy (a combination of scrumptious and yummy) . . ..

I also realized I’d written a British man who sounded like an American. He should at least use British slang if he talked to himself, when he was with his family and friends, and occasionally slip in conversation. As I sprinkled the slang through his speech, it revealed more of his character and his back story. It gave me his internal conflict and it made for better, sweeter story. At least I think so.

And not finding a substitute made me go back and reconsider my word choices. Was I simply being lazy in my dialogue?

So this has been a good month, overall. This is the first time I’ve sent an editor three chapters and had them say, “I want to see what happens.” Editing was easier this time. I’ve learned to not be lazy in my word choice. I’ve learned a lesson about dialogue and character development.

And now I’m waiting again.

Oh. . . the rejection? It came with some great feedback and some specific things to address. I have a new list of things to learn so I can resubmit it.

home page photoCross your fingers.  And read something good on spring break!

Harriet

 

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About

I am the author of Soft Target, published by Carina Press.

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