Sorry I’ve been absent for an extended stretch again. The warmer weather vaulted the Architect and me out of our winter hibernation and back into the renovation gig. He fixed our front door–which could have been kicked in by a toddler–and I tore down plaster and walls. I found two more dead rats–one mummified, one just a skeleton. I stepped on another nail. This time it really hurt. But, I don’t seem to have lockjaw, which is nice. The big upside is that my prison of an office is now part of the openness of the rest of the upstairs floor plan and I don’t feel anywhere near as confined sitting here writing as I did before. And it’s nowhere near as frigid in here.
I just got news this morning that while I did make it to the second elimination round, I did not make it to the quarterfinals in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. I was really hoping to make it to the quarterfinals. Well, hoping for the part of the quarterfinals where Publishers Weekly would read my entire novel and review it. I wanted the awfulness that would undoubtedly go along with such a “win” because I wanted some brutal professional feedback by the biggest publication news source on the planet. I wanted to know whether or not to shove “Resonance” in a drawer and forget her. I wanted someone to tell me, instead of having to figure it out myself. Guess that’s what I get for trying to insert divine intervention into a free will universe. Still, I’ll be getting two reviews of my opening pages given by the Amazon Vine Reviewers who essentially knocked me out of the competition. Two opinions of why my book didn’t work for them. That should be fairly helpful. And making it from roughly ten-thousand people to two-thousand on the strength of my pitch means–fucking finally–I don’t have to stress over that thing anymore. It apparently does its job. Now I just need my novel to do the same.
It’s funny how I don’t feel defeated, resigned, or even belligerent. I feel just as determined as I did before, just as calm, just as focused. Have I finally reached that spot of firm belief in my work? Or is this just the first stage of rowing a big barge down a river in Egypt? I don’t know. It’s going to take a couple of weeks for those reviews to trickle down to me, so I’m going to just keep on keepin’ on and forget all about “Resonance” for a while and push ahead with the new novel.
After much head-banging, cursing, pacing and even one minor hissy fit, I managed to rewrite my query letter. Thanks to the patient and visionary Architect, it turned out pretty damn gripping. Where I could only see the re-arranging of words, the Architect saw a grander picture, and helped me develop the best query I’m capable of producing–thereby securing every dedication page in every book I ever write.
It’s funny how I wrote the damn thing, yet couldn’t for my life give it the summary it deserved. As usual–and true to my obsessive nature–I kept focusing on the minutiae, the tiny parts I felt terribly crucial to the summary. It took someone who designs individual spaces, yet understands their effects on the whole to tell me I was going about it the wrong way. And I was. Once I looked at the whole, the minutiae I was so concerned with somehow tied in, giving a broad, but still intimate, snapshot of the novel.
As for the novel itself, I ended up revamping the first three chapters. Nothing major, just a few tweaks I felt needed to be made. In all, I think it’s a stronger opening for it, and hopefully engaging enough that I’ll at least get some requests for partials.
This afternoon will see another round of submissions, and, while I may not be as rosy-cheeked and doe-eyed about the outcome as I was just a month ago, I’m determined to see it through one way or another. It’s either that, or give in and find a day job–and that’s just not happening.
Everyone remembers the first time they had sex. My first time was awkward, embarrassing, and brutal to my ego. Still, I remember it clearly–and with some fondness–because it was my first. There’ll never be another of those.
True to Charles’ prediction about the silence bubble bursting, I received my first rejection letter yesterday, less than a week after sending out the query. And, to again echo that First Time, the event was graceless, shaming–and mercifully brief.
The sword drove in so fast I didn’t really see it coming. Nevertheless, the cut was quick and true. Being run through is never pleasant, but, as it was done with a polite explanation and a sincere apology, I’d have to say it was a fairly bearable sensation given its nature–sort of like being skewered by a velvet-clad blade instead of plain, cold steel.
Despite the disappointment, I feel the need to enjoy this moment. I’ve passed many milestones in the past year: finishing my novel, writing a synopsis (no mean feat for me), and then relinquishing the privacy of my work for the judgment of the professional world. Those markers now stand behind me, granite obelisks charting the distance I’ve trod on the road to becoming an author. And now I have one more monument to add to my collection.
For good or bad, the emotions evoked by all subsequent rejections will never compare to this one, the one that started it all. Like that initiatory romp in the sack, there can be no other firsts. Many may–ahem–arrive after, but none will ever be its match.