Rejection is such a foul, nasty word. Rejection. It even tastes bad when you say it. I remember my first rejection when Brad What's-his-name turned me down to the movies in the 8th grade. Oh, I was heartbroken. I remember my first rejection letter to a college I applied to. I was devastated they didn't want me. I remember my first rejection email where I interviewed for my first real job. How could they not sense my fabulousness?
No one wants to be rejected, but it's a part of life. Sure it stings for a few moments, creates some self-doubt, and churns the emotions but we pick ourselves up and move on. We grow stronger. Smarter. Sassier. I didn't marry my eighth grade crush, go to my first choice college or get that first job, but life has a funny way of working out just the way it
should. I married my best friend, graduated with an MBA in Business Administration and Marketing, and I've had a fantastic professional career. Not bad for being rejected, right?
This past week I received my first rejection from an Agent. I’ll be honest. I was hesitant to open the email when it came through. Did she love it? Hate it? The rejection she wrote was so nice, but it was still an ego blow and a little emotional. After reading the email - oh 9 or 10 times - I appreciate the time she took in reading my book and providing feedback. I've decided to take her comments to heart and consider them carefully.
Was I disappointed she didn't want to sign me as a client and help me make gobs of money? Well, sure. Who wouldn't be? But I look at it this way - she is giving me the opportunity to improve my craft, grow as a writer, and push myself toward bigger and better things. This is a tough industry, and as a writer you have to be willing to do what it takes to make your book stand out.
In the writing world, rejection is common. That's not to say it makes me feel any better, but a major part of the process. This was my first book rejection, but it probably won't be my last either. I simply hope to look back at this first book rejection when I am a published author and know it was for the best.
The last week of the month I work on my blog, and every month I review what has happened (personally and professionally) in my life before I decide what to write about. I recently got into a great debate with another writer about character names and I wanted to share some of the discussion.
Character names are getting more unusual. Katniss Everdeen, The Hunger Games, was the name that got the conversation going. While we did chat about a small handful of names, Katniss is a perfect example for both sides of the debate.
On one hand (pro unusual names) it gives the character an advantage to stand out from the crowd from page one. An extraordinary name can give them a larger than life personality because they are one of a kind. Amanda and Susan are nice names, but they have a totally different feel than Katniss. When writer’s use a name a reader doesn’t know in real life, it is difficult for them to put a personal opinion and prejudice on them, allowing their minds to be more open to character development and personality.
The other side of the argument (con unusual names) they can be difficult to pronounce or spell for readers. They may have challenges remembering the name when it is too unique. In fact, books with too many bizarre names can be distracting or aggravating for readers. In sci-fi and fantasy genres this may be more acceptable, but something to consider. A strange name may make it more difficult for readers to connect with characters, and
therefore not allow them to get lost in the book as a writer may desire.
Although you can argue points on both side of the topic, and I won’t tell you which side
I was on, there are good and bad points for each. It really just depends on the author’s vision for the character. At the end of the day, if an unusual name works for the character, the story, and ultimately the readers that’s all that counts.
My good friend and critique partner Maria Cox invited me to participate in a My Writing Process Blog Tour. Although I was thrilled to join her and said yes right away, I was also a little nervous since this is my first blog tour.
For those of you that don’t know Maria Cox...Maria knew at a very early age that she wanted to be a writer. What’s even more interesting is that she knew at the age of ten that she’d be a romance writer. Consequently, Maria wrote her first short love story at the age of eleven and has continued to write ever since.
Unlike Maria, I didn’t realize my dreams of becoming a writer until about two years ago. With a gentle push by my parents I attained my BA and MBA in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. I’ve been in the marketing profession since leaving college, and although business will always be my first love, writing has become my passion.
I love the creative possibilities and escape writing provides from a sometimes hectic everyday life. Those that know me might say I’m emotional and sarcastic, which are not good qualities for a marketing professional, but they are excellent traits for a romance writer. Being a romance writer allows me to wear my heart on my sleeve and say things that I could never say in an office environment.
What am I working on?
I am currently in the revision and editing stage of my first contemporary romance novel. Editing is not my favorite part of the writing process, but a necessary one. I look forward to getting my first book completed and getting it into the hands of agents, publishers, and readers.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My work differs from others because I come at my stories like a movie. I like sassy, strong leading-women in my movies, and I write characters following those same guidelines. I like for my heroines to feel free to toss a drink in someone’s face, say those witty come-backs that we all want to say but don’t, and feel free to tell the hero to butt out.
Why do I write what I do?
Real life is often a roller coaster, and romance novels have helped me through some tough times. I write romance novels because it’s fun. Where else can you solve all your problems, and fall in love in 300 pages? Everyone loves to talk about love, and I think we all deserve to meet a special someone and live happily ever after (whatever that means to you).
How does your writing process work?
I have a very active imagination, so I let the book play out in my head like a movie before I get it down on paper. Once I have a good working outline of where I want my story to go, I conduct a casting call with my character sketch. This allows me to match up my characters to celebrities with similar looks, personalities, attitudes, etc. The process makes it all feel more real to me, and hopefully that will come through to my readers.
Next week: I’m honored to introduce you to 3 amazing authors. Please click on their names below and check out their websites and/or blogs. Then stay tuned for their "My
Writing Process" blog tour on April 7th.
Lena Jakes is a single mom of two teenage boys and three dogs. Born and raised in
California, Lena now calls Phoenix home. She is usually found hiding from her kids (and dogs) at her antique sewing table turned writing desk. It's there she creates new worlds with modern men and strong women to escape to as often as she can. Her first novel Hardened Hearts was published in November 2012; the second book in the Teams series, Austin's Apology will be available soon! Follow Lena on Twitter: msleanjakes or Facebook: lenajakes1
Ann Marie Stone was born and raised in Arizona. Up until recently, she has spent most of her adult life in college and working in sales and customer service type positions, while also raising two incredible kids and serving three years in the Army National Guard. In September of 2013 Ann Marie decided to pursue her dream of becoming a published author and has begun to work on writing full time. She is currently working on her first book in an eight book series, titled Reborn. She believes the knowledge she has obtained from life experiences as well as her educational experiences has assisted in creating some interesting and complex characters.
Shari Broyer’s earliest writing awards were a 1st place trophy for Creative Writing and First Runner up for Poetry at 8thgrade graduation. Currently, she’s Board Member and Editor--The Desert Rose newsletter, Phoenix Desert Rose Chapter, Romance Writers of America; member, Christian Writers of the West Chapter, American Christian Fiction Writers; facilitator, Writers Roundtable, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ. She writes in many genres and indie-publishes her works via Amazon Kindle and CreateSpace. Her short Inspirational Christmas story--Jesus on a Park Bench—published
12-24-12, is an Amazon Inspirational bestseller.
Lisa Heartman writes contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels.