Listen to the Mustn'ts, child, listen to the Don'ts.
Listen to the Shouldn'ts, the Impossibles, the Won'ts.

Listen to the Never Haves, then listen close to me.
Anything can happen, child, Anything can be.

-Shel Silverstein

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

My Private Humiliation

The SCBWI conference in Boise, Idaho did not go as planned. I had hoped to return with tales of rainbows and pots of gold.

But alas, it was a dark cloud of discouragement with a thick, black, humiliated lining.

The agent critique I signed up for was painful at best. I am grateful for the honest feedback I received, but that doesn’t make the medicine any easier to swallow. Basically, it was like being in labor for 72-hours only to have the nurse come in and tell you your baby was the ugliest thing she’d ever seen.

I learned 10 very important things:

1) My main character is a jerk

2) There is no market for yet another book about…heaven forbid… demons!

3) My word choice was offensive, despite the context with which it was intended

4) My fight scene was unrealistic and stupid

5) My characters attempt at gallantry backfired

6) I started the book in the wrong place

7) I had food in my teeth

8) My shirt was ugly

9) My pants made me look fat

10) I am fundamentally flawed

…But despite all that, the writing itself was okay.

Um, thank you?

I spent the weekend wanting to give up. And not just give up—I'm talking take my computer and throw it out the window of a 100 story building kind of giving up.

But, I have to keep reminding myself that even though she thought my baby was hideous and should be burned at the stake; there are others who sort of dig my baby. I kind of dig my baby.

So here I sit at a very important crossroads. If I want to continue to query my book to agents and try and actually get the ugly thing published I have a lot of rework to do. My first two chapters need to be completely rewritten and I need to take a long, long, long and hard look at the rest of it. My other choice is to give up on this book and keep working on my new book, hoping that I can get it right the second time around. My third choice is to turn around, go back the way I came, and quit.

I am not a quitter by nature. Unfortunately, part of writing, part of putting yourself out there to the world and being open for attack, part of trying to achieve your dreams is being disappointed and humiliated along the way. I know that in my brain. It’s my heart that doesn’t understand.

I still don’t know what I’m going to do. I really don’t. But here’s hoping time will heal and I will be back to writing offensive, unreadable drivel in no time!


  1. Just because one person didn't like it doesn't mean its bad! It might need a little tweaking but don't give up yet! I'm going to read it next week on vacay and I will give you some feedback. You just have to find your niche and your following. You will.
    I'm so proud of you! One day, over expensive dessert and drinks at some place fabulous, we are going to laugh about this. Mark my words.
    Keep on keeping on (I swear I've seen that on a trucker hat some where). You're doing great. This process takes time, just keep moving in the right direction.
    Love you!!

  2. It was fabulous to see you people. Although you feel like your book is a pile of pooh, I like it, and more importantly, you inspire me to no end. For hell's sake, you WROTE A BOOK. So.... that is something to be proud of in my opinion.