Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I've been writing seriously for about three years now and have learned to handle personal rejections like "Your story nearly made the next cut" or "We almost passed it on for the entertainment value alone."  Even the generic "Your story did not fit our needs at the moment" is something I'm used to by now.  But I got one today in which the editor said " Ian's (my main character's)  voice didn't quite come alive for me, and the setting wasn't as vivid as I'd prefer." That devastated me so much, for two hours or so I felt like I was ready to give up writing then and there. 

Character development had become job one for me, and I wrote a couple novellas and short stories with the voice of the main character as the top priority.  Also, I began rewriting my first novel, this time with a strong main character's voice in first person. It looked like I was making real progress.  Critters for the other novella and the rewrite of my novel commented that the voice of the MC comes across very well. Thus, when I received the line "Ian's voice didn't quite come alive for me" it was like a blow to the heart.

So, have I failed as a writer?  In all honesty, I did not try to get inside my MC's head as much as I did in the other stories I wrote during this period.  It was by design, as I imagined this story as more of a plot-driven and faster moving story.  Was I wrong in writing it this way?  Should the writer always get as much inside the head of his characters as possible?  Or, should I just forget what happened today and send the story off to someone else tomorrow?

Anyway, I've ranted enough.  Please excuse my narcissism, I get quite self-centered when I get depressed about my writing.  I'll be back to reasonable sanity in a couple days (I hope).  I know people who read my posts have given me more support than I could ever hope to return, but I'm still dying to know about your opinion on these experiences.  Can someone please give me some objective feedback on what I've just experienced?


  1. Hi Chuck. I'm sorry to hear about the comments you received from that editor. I'm a newb and haven't experienced this yet, so I don't have any feedback to give in that regard. But I have gone through the phase of being depressed about my writing. I think all writers have at one point or another. It comes and goes.

    But I think it's wonderful that you care so much about your work and your characters. Clearly, you love writing and I think that passion is what drives writers to continue submitting their stories. Rejection comes but so can acceptance. You won't know unless you try and try and try again. Just think of J.K. Rowling. And don't let an editor get you down. :)

  2. Chuck - If that's the story I think it is, I think the editor is wrong. Isn't that the one where there is the beast and the characters all have a heavy Scottish accent?

    The character wasn't exceptionally vivid for me, but he sure wasn't flat and the scene was vivid, without a doubt.

  3. Chuck, no matter what any editor says, NEVER give up. ALWAYS use these comments to your benefit. So now you're questioning yourself; that might be a good thing. Why not let a day or two go by (they already have, judging by your post date) and get back to your story? Read it again and focus on Ian. Do you think he doesn't have a voice? If so, what can you do about it?