Taking Back the Sword: Rejected

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She had missed him for so long. She had missed him as the sun missed the moon. She hated her human pace, her tired muscles and aching joints, preventing her from being with him for one heartbeat longer. Months had separated them – would he look different? He’d be taller, surely, for he’d yet to have his growth spurt when she departed from Galisle. And he’d be older, as deaths in families often do to children.

Now shoving her way through gathered servants, courtiers, and citizens, Arden elbowed and kneed, not taking notice of who she might be bruising but instinctively doing her best to not knock anyone over. Warm skin of exposed forearms brushed against hers in the hurry to see her brother. Hands reached out to her, helping her along and perhaps just eager to touch the Lady Arden, their surely soon-to-be queen.

The crowd closer to the maw of the courtyard broke into claps and cheers. It seemed that anyone who was precious to Arden also became precious to them. If she hadn’t been so frantic, Arden would have been touched, or maybe angry, by this display of devotion.

(teensy excerpt from my manuscript ^)

Alas, it is not the time for me to be published at this time, with these publishers.

Let me alone while I run up the marble, spiral staircase to the top of the tower, lock myself in my bedroom, and wait for the dashing Prince of Publishing to come kiss me from my heartbroken lethargy.

Hahahaa, funny, right? Arden would have a fit in my head if that’s the sort of mindset I adopted. She’d unsheath her sword and start hacking away at the insides of my skull. Well, likely not, but she’d definitely give me tongue-lashing.

But I’m not that disappointed. This submission was a last-minute deal. I wrote a raw draft in two months and jumped on luck when I sent it. Jumping on luck is only half of writing. I had been lacking the time to properly go over the draft a second time, let alone a third. The odds of acceptance were as high of me receiving my Hogwarts letter or being chosen by a dragon egg to be its Rider. You might akin it to making a sword really quickly — and it turning out crooked — and handing it to a soldier while it’s still glowing hot. Do you want to be the soldier with a sword that’s bent and still pliable? No. You want a sword that’s straight and sturdy.  

And I’m relieved my sword was rejected. Truly, it’s not ready. I need to go back to the forge, pound it straight (it has a lot of strange angles, now that I think about it), and let it cool. Then I’ll take it back, heat it up, and pound some more — until I get it right.

Of course, I don’t want to work on it too much. And so I won’t. There will a break between edits.

Besides, I have other characters battling for attention in my head, characters that belong to different times and worlds. Tristan and Hatter are arguing at full volume, while poor Detective Warham is just watching and wishing that he was brave enough to fight for my love.

All in all, being rejected wasn’t a bad thing. I’m glad I have the opportunity to take back the sword and smooth out the kinks. I can get to know the characters better, add some more action to the monotonous days (weeks?) spent at the castle. New goal: submit by August 31, 2012.

And, in a childish sort of way, being rejected makes me feel like more of a writer. I feel like I’ve been quietly inducted to the Rejection Hall of Writers Everywhere.

Have you been inducted to the Hall? Have you walked through its delicately balanced beauty? Have you seen the tentative dreams and ardent hopes?

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11 thoughts on “Taking Back the Sword: Rejected

  1. Anne Barnhill

    The key to writing is perseverence–just like the character Anne Boleyn played in the pageant. I’ve been rejected more times than I can cound over my 25 year career. Hang in there and keep going. Keep trying and pushing. As one of my teachers said, “If you take a spoonful of the mountains everyday, one day the mountain will move!”

    • I always found it an extremely suiting character for her to play. Her perseverence is one of the things I admire most about her, and is a virtue I hope to exercise throughout the coming years, which are no doubt filled with many more rejections! Thank you, Anne, for your kind and encouraging words. I better go get my spoon… 😉

    • Thank you, and I am. I’m only able to write so well because I was raised on stories, and I’ll be ever thankful to my parents so doing so. Thanks for commenting! 🙂

  2. I’ve been inducted dozens of times. I thought of each rejection as a step closer to publication. When the big rejection came, I began to rethink what I was doing. You could say that last, huge, heart-breaking rejection set me on the path I am today.

    Libby, welcome to the rejection club. You’ll probably get more; not because you’re writing is not good, but because everyone gets rejected at one point or another. The writer who never recieved a rejection is one who never submitted.

    You had the courage to submit, and that is a huge step in the right direction.

    So while I’m sorry to hear you received a rejection, congratulations on taking a chance and putting your work out to be judged. And I wish you all the best in writing career.

    • Merging into the writing world came with the risk of rejection — I knew I certainly wasn’t going to be published the first time around, and am still content to receive rejections for the next few years before I try my hand at self-publishing or another form of writing (journalism?). It’s heartening to know that people read my words, even if it’s just through a tiny corner of the Internet.
      Thank you, Diane, for the warm welcome to the rejection club and kind words. Your encouragement is wholly appreciated.
      🙂

    • Lova ya, too, Kenz.
      Yes m’am, I will. Having the support of my friends provides me immeasurable amounts of fuzzy warm feelings!
      Haha, yes you did. Thank you. 🙂

  3. I am a card carrying member of the Rejection Hall of Writers club. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, or so they say. Rejection is tough but it is part of the ride. I am just glad I didn’t give up, although many times I was close. Hang in there.

    • Thanks, Darlene. I’m glad you didn’t give up, though I’m sure countless others have. I think I’m too stubborn to give up, though only time will tell.
      It’s amazing getting all this support from authors as well as family and friends! 🙂

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