Coping with rejection

It seems the complete story of Gabriel Bonnett and Beth Murphy will have to remain a mystery to Sentinels’ fans. Unfortunately, my editor wasn’t impressed with draft two of the book.

Like most writers, I’ve experienced my share of rejections. It still stings a bit, but you learn to cope and move on. You have to — the only alternative is giving up. But what do you do once that “no thanks” letter couched in apology arrives? How do you deal with your disappointment? The self-doubt? And just what the hell do you do with the thousands of words you’ve written and now seem to have been a waste of your time?

This time around it hasn’t been quite the dilemma that it once was. Honestly, after a certain period of optimism, I was somewhat expecting the R — shorthand for ‘rejection letter’ in this business. I’m not sure why… but somewhere along the line I lost faith in this particular story.

And no, it wasn’t a “nice” R with loads of compliments and such regarding the strengths of the story. By the tone and what was said, there didn’t seem to be even one thing that appealed to her about Gabriel and Beth’s romance. Pity. I really like those two characters.

Do I take it personally? Um, a little…but not deeply. I think the big problem here was I had reworked it to death. It lost any spark it might have had in the beginning. It wasn’t the story I really wanted it to be. Also, it really might have been better as the first story — or later in the series. Pre-quels are a very tricky animal. So maybe that’s part of why I’m not taking this R quite so much to heart as others.

That, and previous experience. BTDT, as the t-shirt says. 😉

Still… here comes the self-doubt. Although I’m over 11k into the next Sentinels book — now bumped up to that coveted #2 spot — I stutter to a halt when I begin to write a scene. Am I making the same mistakes with Samantha’s story as I did with Gabriel’s? Are my character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts (GMCs) as clear-cut and riveting as they need to be? Does their relationship have enough spark…a strong chemistry? Is the action paced well? Fast but not too rushed?

Yes, self-doubt can be a crippling thing when it comes to writing. It brings your muse to a screeching halt. It makes your hands freeze over the keyboard and your thoughts shut down as if someone hit a switch. It can also turn you into a chocolate-guzzling lump, sitting in front of the television watching all day marathons of NCIS…

But I digress. (ahem) What I really want to know is: How do you deal with rejection? How do you tame that demon self-doubt and send him back to Hades where he belongs? Please share … I have another book to finish.

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