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I’ve had my share of writing rejections, so they are not as depressing as they used to be. I’ve learned that the best writers have been rejected. It is all part of the journey.

But I had been waiting on a response from an agent for a while, so I sent a couple of emails to the agency asking if they had reviewed my proposal. I received no response which caused me to shut down.

I attributed my apathy to thinking I wasn’t good enough to even rate a rejection, so why bother.

Imagine my surprise when I was searching for something in my husband’s junk drawer a couple of weeks ago and found an envelope addressed to me in my own handwriting because the agent suggested sending a self-addressed envelope with the proposal submission.

It was indeed the rejection letter I had needed to get back to my writing– dated December 5, 2011.

I wasn’t upset at my husband for opening my mail because I have nothing to hide, but I was hurt that he kept the rejection from me. It was especially hurtful that he thought I was too weak to handle it.

The truth was the rejection wasn’t bad, and would have kept me working, and would have prevented this writing depression I’ve been in for almost a year.

The agent said, “while your project exhibits merit it is not quite what we are looking for at this time. . . This is a very creative approach to a Biblical parallel. And the pacing and characterization is fine. The problem is it felt too over the top or ‘formulaic’. But that is more my problem than yours.”

The agent went on to suggest I send it to one of the other agents in his agency who may have more enthusiasm for my project.

I consider that a good rejection, but I suppose my husband was afraid I’d be distraught and he wanted to protect me from heartbreak.

He has been a very supportive husband where my writing is concerned, but he is not perfect, and I forgave him, but I hate the time I’ve wasted moping over the lack of a response from this respected agent.

Now I must get to work, and hopefully send the project to other agents.

At some point in time we all get rejected by someone, whether it is by a book editor, a literary agent, a job interviewer, a love interest, etc.

I’ve been rejected multiple times for my book manuscripts. See my post Missing the Mark on my first rejection.

Don’t get discouraged about rejections. It doesn’t mean you won’t have a second chance. I was given a second chance by that same publisher in 2007 at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

I sat down with Nick Harrison from Harvest House (my first rejection) for a 15 minute pitch of my ideas. He asked to see a sample of my writing.

Just before leaving for the conference I stuffed in my bag three chapters of one of my works in progress, so I handed him those pages. This had not been run by any critique partners so it was a rough draft. I should have been embarrassed to hand it to him.

He read the first page and turned to the next. I’ve heard many times that editors know from the first page whether it is something they are looking for in a manuscript, so I was thrilled. Then he turned the next page and the next. He asked a question about the plot of the story.

Then he said, “You’ve broken one of the cardinal rules of writing.”

My heart sank. I wondered what I did wrong.

He said I didn’t lead with the protagonist, but that I did it well.

I broke a major rule in writing fiction, but I did it well! I couldn’t have been more flattered.

He wasn’t interested in that story, but wanted to know if I had others. And boy did I. He probably regretted asking that question. I turned my notebook toward him where I had written down about 50 book ideas — all in various degrees of completion, some just a one sentence idea.

He wanted me to send him my Regency proposals. Unfortunately, those were the one sentence ideas.

I came home and worked on a contemporary piece that I had gotten some interest from other editors at the conference and was subsequently rejected by them.

An opening paragraph for the regency came to me one day so I wrote it down and haven’t stopped writing on it yet. I have written 75 pages on it and hope to write 15 pages today. See my post Writing the Breakout Novel.

I heard Mr. Harrison will not be attending the conference this year, so I plan to get it completed before the conference and send it to him. I think he is my dream editor.

The point of this blog is to say that you may be rejected, but keep working.

In all liklihood I’ll be rejected by Harvest House again, but that will not stop me from sending in my story, Absalom’s Beauty.

Note: How did I start the book where I broke a cardinal rule of writing? Here is the first sentence:

“Will you be my Daddy?”

(and believe it or not, this is a military/suspense/romance)

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