At the beginning of Dances with Wolves, Kevin Costner says, “The strangeness of this life cannot be measured.” He might as well have been talking about mine. To wit:
For the past few weeks, I’ve been poking and poking at “Just a Game,” trying to find some way to either rewrite it or reinvent it, with no success. So last Saturday, I figured I would give it maybe one more day, and if nothing came, I would reluctantly set it aside for the nonce, write it off as a loss.
That, of course, was the day the muse dropped by, and showed me what I could do with the story.
So now I have a plan, though it still needs fleshing out. It will be an almost entirely new story. I’m keeping my protagonist and his father, and one of the settings . . . and that’s about it. The rest I’ll be making up out of whole cloth–only simpler and better than the original conception, one hopes.
Meanwhile, I received a rather crushing rejection this week from an agent who had requested a full of Wet Work. Crushing not because it was harsh–quite the contrary–but because my hopes had gone positively stratospheric. Even a complimentary rejection is still a rejection. I’m back at square one, just when I thought I might be getting somewhere. You know that bit in Field of Dreams where Burt Lancaster talks about coming this close to your dreams? Yeah. Right or wrong, that’s how it felt.
And yet, after picking myself off the ground and dusting myself off, I realized that at the very least, the rejection had brought me a moment of clarity. I had been kinda thinking that if this thing with the agent panned out, I would be diving into the sequel to Wet Work. That won’t be happening now, but there’s another novel project I’ve been contemplating of late. Thanks to that devastating rejection, I’m now free to pursue it.
The strangeness of this life. Just as I’m about to give up on a story, I figure out how to salvage it. And a tough rejection helps launch me in a new direction.
And that’s probably enough Kevin Costner movie references for one blog post.
Write Club update:
Two agent rejections this week. In addition to the aforementioned bounce on a full of Wet Work, I also got a personalized “no, thanks” from a different agent on a couple of partials. That one wasn’t as crushing, as I had been expecting it.
Right. Got some work to do.