I never planned to do this post, but after receiving a story rejection this week, I’ve decided this was something that couldn’t wait. Mr Self Doubt it cheering now, but after this, he will get another blow to the head.
Why do another post about rejection? Well this isn’t solely about rejection it’s about your faith in your story and deciding whether it’s a lost cause or not. Now while my rejection wasn’t all bad I had some good comments (sadly I only focus on the negative this is something that needs to be discussed in future posts) my characters are strong and my story is well written, but there is one little problem, apparently my plot is predictable. This left me with a question, if I change my plot, will it change my story outcome. Yes I have written a story about hope and it ends on a hopeful note, you could say that was predictable but does that make it wrong, does this mean I should toss my story aside like a disused dish rag, or change the story so much so that it’s no longer the hopeful tale I envisaged.
My story is a simple tale about a character finding hope in the smallest of things. Even though I mostly write horror due to my sensitive nature, I do like to write emotional tales, especially ones were things look better at the end, now this isn’t a happily ever after kind of ending it’s a we can keep fighting ending. Since reading my previous post about dealing with rejection, one thing does stick out, so far only one editor has said this, and as we know not everyone likes the same thing. While some might find it predictable, others might find it a thought provoking beautiful tale. So this sent me thinking of things to consider before I chuck my story away, and I managed to come up with a list that can be applied to all of my stories.
While thinking of things to consider I realised that I’m probably not alone with this, there’s possibly many writers out there at the same crossroads, so I’ve decided to share my points. As expected it will be 5, I don’t know what it is about 5, maybe it’s my secret favourite number. Randomness aside, here are the 5 points to consider before you either mutilate your story or throw it away.
- Will making changes affect the story outcome: Even though I have said that sometimes your story needs a tweak, this tweak can change your story in a way you didn’t want it to. So before you dramatically change your ending, or change your main character’s personality (because they have been called dull), you really need to think about the possible consequences. If you feel that a change will be detrimental to your story, then send it to some one else and see what they say. However, if you feel a change needs to be made e.g. grumpy character needs a dry sense of humour to make them more interesting then do so.
- How many rejections have you received: As I have said previously a rejection doesn’t mean your story is rubbish, it just means that it needs a tweak or needs to find the right home. So if your story has only been rejected once, and it’s not your characters or grammar that’s the issue, then try it again somewhere else. I’ve decided to wait until I have 5 rejections before I decide to do some serious alterations. Yes, I know 5 again lol.
- Does the story meet it’s goal: If your story does what it’s meant to do, hook readers, tells a story (Start, Middle, End), has strong characters etc then there’s a big possibility that you don’t really need to do anything to it. Yeah some may not like the story, but folks we aren’t going to win them all.
- What’s the overall response to your story: If your story has been read and you’ve got some emotional responses from it, as long as it’s the right response you don’t want people laughing when you’re trying to scare them to death, then I would say job done. However, you will need to make sure your story is read by someone who isn’t scared to critique your work because what you need is someone to tell you the truth not someone who will lie to make you feel better, this isn’t useful for your improvement. If you are getting the response you desired then all you need to do now is find the right home for it.
- Do you believe in the story: If deep down, regardless of the growing doubt that you maybe feeling, you truly believe that your story has great potential, that it’s written the way you feel is the best way, that you know it will have a deep impact on your readers then stick with it. Don’t listen to Mr Self Doubt and throw it away allowing that to put a permanent doubt mark on your dream. Keep with it and don’t lose faith, it’s easier said than done but you mustn’t give up.
So there you have it 5 things to consider before you dump your story. Hopefully this has helped you to decide which direction to go in. I know I’m a little clearer, so I’ve had 2 rejections so far so here’s to the next 3.
On a final note, if you have also received a rejection this week then I shall point you to my old post, see below, and according to this I owe myself a treat.
So, what are you waiting for? Let’s follow this unrealistic dream!
- WIHM: Setting Self Doubt on Fire: The Female Horror Author Reading Challenge - February 22, 2019
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Let’s Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway in 2019 - January 23, 2019
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: 5 Tips on How to Ignore the Negative Voices - September 9, 2017
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Hey! Where’s My Book Reading Audience - June 3, 2017
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Don’t Let Self-Doubt Make You Miss Deadlines - March 25, 2017
- WIHM: Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Female Horror Writer and Proud - February 18, 2017
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Let’s Beat Self-Doubt in 2017 - January 7, 2017
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Help! I Didn’t Reach My NaNo Goal - December 3, 2016
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: It’s NaNoWriMo and NaNoEdMo Time - October 29, 2016
- Setting Self Doubt on Fire: How to Prepare for a Book Reading Event - October 9, 2016