When you read a story that draws you in, it seems like such a simple act. What the reader does not know (and should not know) is that crafting your novel demands time, effort and grunt work. Just like an Olympic gymnast makes a back walk-over look easy, a good writer makes their story seem effortless. And that’s the way it should be.
But writing a story doesn’t come easy for most of us. We agonize over the right word; we worry about whether our characters are alive and vibrant; whether our plots and sub-plots make sense and most important of all – whether the story is interesting at all.
But that’s only one part of the equation. The other part is even harder. Writing a query and a synopsis, researching literary agents to find out who would be the best fit for our novel and finally the excruciating pain of waiting to hear from those agents we have sent our souls to.
Many writers fall off the creative path around this time simply because it becomes too difficult to accept rejection. Most agents phrase their rejections in a kind way. Here’s one rejection I received from one of the first middle grade novels I submitted. In hindsight, and after reading the work a couple of years later, I was appalled at my first chapter and how unpolished it seems now.
Dear Ms. Bell:
Thank you for your recent submission. We appreciate your interest in ___________________ Publishing.
It is obvious you have invested a considerable amount of time and effort into this project. Unfortunately, after careful consideration, we do not feel that we could be successful with your work. Please know that sometimes we must pass on well written, marketable projects simply because they do not suit our lists.
Thank you again for sharing your submission with us, and we wish you the best of luck in placing your work elsewhere.
With best wishes,
Achieving writing success is not about being the best writer or writing the most interesting story of all time. Of course, these factors help and if you can’t write … well, your chances of being published are probably not very good. But there is one component that successful writers have that stands them in good stead and that is stick-to-it-ness. Taking a writing class will help most people because it provides you with a sense of structure and forces you to be accountable. In addition, you get valuable input not only from the instructor, but from your peers as well. And best of all, you get to make good friends.
How many of your writers enjoy your writing classes?
2016 Creative Writing Classes at Beyond-the-Lamppost begin:
Tues. afternoons January 12 – March 29 in Oakville “Shaping Your Story”
Wed. afternoons January 13 – March 30 in Oakville “Get Your Story Finished”
Thurs. afternoons January 14 – March 3 in Oakville “Almost there: Revising & Rewriting Your Manuscript”