Oh wait, we're not playing basketball. Of course it doesn't feel any better having your shot blocked.
After three long months of waiting, the editor I met at the Spring Fling Conference finally got back to me. She reiterated how much she liked the story premise for Epitaph, but I didn't convince her that this was a book she couldn't live without. Unfortunately, authors develop this fatalist attitude so when the letter came yesterday, I would have been more surprised if she had asked for a full manuscript to review. Is this the end? Nope. Just another bump in the road. I am disappointed, but I have another plan to put into action - starting today. Epitaph is off to the next prospect.
In the meantime, I'm still working on The Next Big Thing (which is not the title). I'm still excited about this one and hoping I can do justice to the concept. Of all the stories I've written, this one just FEELS like something special. Oh, yes, they are all special when you're writing them, and I felt this same way when I wrote The Treasure of St. Paul. The ones between were fun, but none of them had the same spark. In fact, the last story I wrote was pretty flat, but then again, it was written as a catharsis - an homage to a tragedy. That one will likely never see the light of day. But THIS ONE has real potential.
Rejection is a part of the process. One of the hardest lessons is to accept the criticism and learn from it. I don't know of anyone who takes criticism well, but there are very few malicious agents and/or editors. They don't pass along comments to be mean, they do it to teach you something. A famous person once said those who will not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them. In a highly subjective business, it's easy to discount "one person's opinion." However, when that one person knows what they're talking about, you need to consider why they don't like it before you ignore it. For me, I think the comments I received were valid, and it's a weakness I've seen pointed out by others. At the end of the day, it may be something I'm not able to overcome, but knowing it, seeing it, recognizing it - these are the first steps to correcting it. If I can correct it this time, maybe the next proposal will be accepted!
In the meantime, I'm moving forward on my canyon story, keeping these lessons in mind as I first finish and then edit. With a little luck and a lot of hard work, this one just might be that break-out novel.