TRAMBLINGS. . .
THIS is where I go when I am feeling homesick. Courtesy of the SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE a photoblog by Frederic Larson devoted to BAY AREA SCENES.
A couple months ago a friend of the Crown Prince me asked me to help him with a writing project. I HATE THOSE REQUESTS! Especially when the translation is. . . “I’ll tell you a story (about my life) and you write it down.” I usually smile, nod and reference my deadlines but there was something about him, and his project, that made me listen. I’m glad I did. My friend is a native French speaker and mostly my “help” has come from wading through his accent, and his search for the proper English word, in order to get his ideas on the page. The story is all his and it’s EXCELLENT. I am actually very excited about the project. We get together two or three times a week for a couple of hours to talk through his scenes and make changes to old ones. We work well together and our writing personalities mesh with relative ease. The first week. Scratch that – the first two weeks were spent trying to decipher his accent but now I can finish his sentences. I say we have about a month of work left. I’ll let you know how it all turns out.
In other writing news, I got three rejection letters in one week for the same short story. Here’s what they said:
LITERARY MAGAZINE # 1: “Thanks for sending Tramble’s story. I liked the set-up but thought it lost it’s footing toward the end. Send us more.”
LITERARY MAGAZINE #2: “Thank you for sending along Nichelle Tramble’s story. Sorry for taking so long to get back to you. There was a lot to love in this story, particularly the main character’s description of wrestling. But, unfortunately, in the end we couldn’t come to a consensus so we will have to pass. We were very impressed by Tramble’s work and hope you’ll send more to us in the future.”
LITERARY MAGAZINE # 3: A form letter.
I can’t comment on letter number three but there is definite truth to letter number one. The story does lose it’s way at the end. I can see that now. I wrote the story last year and my agent started to send it out at the holidays. Responses are just starting to trickle in now. And, since, I haven’t really touched the story in months I can look at it with fresh eyes. It clicks along at the beginning, has some funny stuff in the middle, and then it just blows it’s brains out on the last three pages. I think I was frustrated, tired and ready to wrap it up so I tied a neat little bow on the end. The story deserves more than that so I’ll go back in to do the heavy lifting and excavation work after I submit it to my writers group.
The ending isn’t horrible which is why my agent agreed to send it out in the first place but it doesn’t honor the whole of the story. My friend, JEBEDIAH REED gave me some kick-ass notes awhile back so I’ll combine his with those of my writer group and see what I get. Maybe I’ll post them here once I put them together.
Speaking of rejection letters for those of you who get really discouraged. The worst one I ever got was back in 1989 and it didn’t stop me. What’s that expression, “You can let a bad review spoil your breakfast but not your lunch.” True. True. Anyway, the letter simply said, “Pedestrian and without art. Writer displays little or no talent.” DAMN! I still have it and I still have the three rejection letters I got from the same agency that represents me now. Take from that what you will.
Lastly, I work with a great independent EDITOR if anyone is in need of a manuscript evaluation. As you know from this blog I abuse and misuse the daylights out of commas so I employ someone to help me with my grammar issues. TAMAR LOVE edited THE DYING GROUND before I submitted it to RANDOM HOUSE and they subsequently hired her on as a freelancer. She ain’t cheap but good work never is and never should be. My only warning to those of you who are self-published and haven’t gone through a traditional editing process – GROW A THICK SKIN! Part of the writer process includes taking your knocks, using what you can to grow as a writer and understanding that not every morsel typed on your computer, or written in longhand, is golden. Sometimes you have to kill your babies as the saying goes. If you love it, there’s always a good chance that you’ll get the chance to use it later. Edit it out if it has no place, mourn it and move on.
I had five chapters in the original, melodramatic version of THE DYING GROUND that I just loved but I had to let it go. I resisted before I realized the need to “kill my baby” on my own but I finally saved the pages to another file and placed the hard copy on the shelf. Looks like parts of it will reappear in Book Three but there are no guarantees.
Until next time. . .