Monday, January 10, 2011

It Matters What You Call Yourself

I just got a ms. back from Candlewick. I was sure it wasn't what hey were looking for when it was wrapped in barbed wire and had a skull-and-crossbones on the envelope.
I went through the usual Kubler-Ross stages: Denial -- They must have confused my novel about a kangaroo who finds a portal in the outback and ends up as Shakespeare's pet with another like it. But not nearly as riveting. Anger -- My editor looks charming with a flaming sword buried in her sternum. Etcetera.
Basically what I really do when I get a ms. back or an editorial letter I'd rather not have is remind myself that all I want to do is tell a story. Something a reader would be glad to stick with for a couple of hours.
Thinking of the NOVEL never helps. Thinking of the story helps a lot. Terms like Novel and Novelist cast a very long shadow. Story teller not so much. We all tell stories all the time.
All I need to do is tell a long one.
Simple, no?


  1. Change the kangaroo to a dingo, and, Voila! You've got a contract. Marsupials are so last season.

  2. I love this clarification, Ron. It is what we all need to remember. And Christine any more tips on what's hot and what's not just shoot them my way.

  3. I would take the flaming sword out of your editor's sternum and put it in the book. I'd totally buy a book with a flaming sword in it, even if it had barbed wire wrapped around it. The book, that is, not the sword.

  4. P.S. NPR is having a short story contest (600 words) in which a character tells a joke and a character laughs. I am unable to give you more details because NPR is blocked at work (grr) but here is the link.

    Use that rejection to make your book kick ass, Ron. It's the only way.

  5. One of my favorite quotes of John Steinbeck was prompted by a newspaper reporter's question "How do you consider yourself as an author?" Steinbeck replied, "I've never considered myself as an author. I'm a writer because that's what I do--I write. I'm not sure what an author does."