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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wednesday Spotlight: Linda Poitevin

This post is part of Linda's Virtual Book Tour celebrating the release of her debut novel A Fairy Tale for Gwyn. Linda will be giving away a pair of artisan-crafted earrings as well as a $10 gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press (a total prize package worth $20) to one lucky commenter.

Her other stops can be found here. Remember, the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

The Fine Art of Never Giving Up

So you’ve written a story (or ten) and received a rejection (or a hundred). What now? Do you hide under the covers with a pint of your favorite ice cream? Burn the manuscript(s) and swear off writing forever? What exactly does a writer do in the face of watching her/his dream fall flat, sometimes repeatedly?

Whether it’s your first attempt or your twentieth, I think the answer to that question depends not just on your level of determination, but on your ability to learn from your experience, improve, and move on. Let’s face it, if you’ve sent the same manuscript to twenty publishers/agents and you’ve received the same comments (or worse, the same form rejection) from all of them, maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your approach, your story, or both. Because sometimes not giving up means moving away from simple stubbornness to a willingness to try another path.

No matter how much you love your story or your characters, publication depends on how much others like them, specifically editors. If you’re getting feedback in the form of any kind of personal comments on your rejections, pay attention. Remember that editors have (usually) been at this for longer than you have, and even if you don’t agree with their comments, they’re the ones you’re trying to reach at this stage.

Also be aware that repeated revisions to the same story might not be the answer. Be honest with yourself about your story. If the plot is critically flawed or you just can’t come up with a believable conflict for your characters, maybe it’s time to let go and move on to something fresh. If you don’t already belong to a critique group, join one – and listen to their comments. Take a class that focuses on an area you think you’re weak in, or pick up a book on the topic and actually do the exercises.

Above all, keep writing. Whether or not this manuscript is the one that catches an editor’s eye, it can and will teach you something more about writing…if you let it.

Gwyn Jacobs doesn’t believe in happy-ever-after.

Ever since her ex-husband walked out four years ago, abandoning her with a toddler and infant twins, Gwyn has been mother, father, and bread-winner all rolled into one. Her own scarred heart and failed marriage aside, she is determined not to open up her children’s lives to the possibility of another heartbreak...until her very own fairy tale falls into her lap -- and the hero won’t take no for an answer!


Anonymous said...

Great advice, Linda!

Rejection is tough. But if I have to have a story rejected, I'd far rather have a personal comment than a form letter. You can learn a lot from those comments.


Linda Poitevin said...

Thanks, Lisa -- and you're right...form letters are horrid things!


Phylis said...

I agree with Lisa. Form letters don't give you any help in improving, just an empty dead feeling.

Linda Poitevin said...

Having received several myself, Phylis, I share your pain. So maybe the ice cream idea is actually a good one...and THEN we can continue! :)

Hang in there...I'm living proof that persistence pays off, trust me!


robynl said...

taking another approach is a good idea if no one seems to want your script; never thought of that.

Linda Poitevin said...

Definitely more than one way to storm the castle, Robyn -- good luck! :)


cheryl c said...

"Never give up" is good advice for all of us, no matter what dream we are pursuing. :-)

Linda Poitevin said...

Agreed, Cheryl! :)