I mentioned yesterday that the book idea that’s been brewing just didn’t work for anyone. I threw it out there valiantly because it seemed like I might be able to get it there eventually, but agent didn’t much love it, than editor (remember, I chose her because she is so smart) nixed it without much regret at all. And when she called to tell me to start over, what I felt was relieved.
Now, you may ask, if that was true, why did you send it to them in the first place? And the answer is, because I can’t always judge my work clearly. Nor can you. No writer can. That’s why we work with professionals like editors and agents who have the unenviable task of being clear-eyed when we are not. They alos have the pleasure of saying, "Wow, you outdid yourself this time," or "this is going to make us a lot of money, kiddo," or "this is the best thing you’ve ever written."
I know some of you think that a writer gets to a certain point in her career where everything she writes is gold. I wish it were true. It isn’t. Some ideas never quite jell, and the reasons are as varied as the reasons any book doesn’t quite work–characters, plot, tone, setting, execution. There were some intriguing things about this book, a setting I found compelling, and a single character action that called to me, which was the entire kernel of the idea in terms of my emotional resonance.
But it wasn’t the main story, and there was no way to make it the main story, so I built a lot of other stuff around it and tried to make it work. It didn’t.
There was another idea bubbling on a back burner, and I’ve been adding some spices and possibilities to it over the past couple of weeks. This morning, I’m going to sit down and let it reveal itself. Kind of juicy, this one.
So, if you’ve been discouraged by a rejection recently, or a book isn’t working, just let go, toss it all on the compost heap (all that stuff gets recycled, you know. No idea is ever lost.) And begin again, with me.
How do you handle the news that a project didn’t work?