That's the fate I have been flailing against these past days! Thank you, D.G. Hudson, for being the only one to inquire if all was well with me.
My computer is just one of the living dead.
My Jedi Cyber-Knight and co-worker, Nicholas Savant, has pulled it from its cyber grave ... but it still grumbles.
He will have to work on it more over the next few days.
HARPERCOLLINS VOYAGER editors are sending out their ocean of rejections:
Thank you very much for providing us with the chance to read your novel. We are sorry to say that at this time we don’t feel it is right for the Harper Voyager list.
Due to the volume of submissions we were fortunate enough to receive, we are unable to provide personal feedback, however, please be assured that your work received thorough and fair consideration.
We wish you the best of luck with your writing career, and thank you again for thinking of us.
If like me, you have received such a rejection, pause and reflect, before caving in to dejection from the rejection and giving up hope of ever becoming a writer.
We must fight not to surrender to the mind-set Shakespeare himself wrote of: "having our art tongue-tied by authority."
Self-doubt will hobble our prose. We must, like Bruce Wayne in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, cast off the comforting rope of playing it safe. We must leap into the dark unknown with each sentence if we are to craft the best novel of which we are capable.
We may never be published, but if we do not doubt ourselves, we will produce the best of which we are capable.
Now, to those
FIVE HEARTBEATS ...
I. Heartbeat One -
Understand the nature of your prose challenge -
a.) We write to entertain and hence be published.
b.) The publisher's reader reads solely to get through the pile of slush as quickly as she can.
The reader is eager to find the first reason to dismiss the manuscript in hand so as to get to the next hundred or so.
a.) The reader is the lowest rung in the ladder.
b.) The reader aims to be an editor herself - hence she will not lightly recommend a manuscript only to ruin her chances of advancing.
II. Heartbeat Two -
Understand you have five heartbeats to impress.
a.) Not making grammatical mistakes is not impressing.
b.) Writing a re-hash of what is popular is not impressing.
If within those 5 Heartbeats, you have not WOWED the reader sufficently to over-ride her
inertia and reluctance to irritate her superior, she will toss your manuscript into the reject pile.
III. Heartbeat Three -
The reader doesn't want to be entertained, and she is not reading for entertainment.
a.) She is looking for that DA VINCI CODE break-through book that will be her ticket out of
slush pile Hell.
b.) She is looking at your prose through the filter of you being an unknown.
c.) SIDE-JOBS by Jim Butcher is a collection of his short stories.
Download the free sample chapter and see.
1.) The first story was written while he was still in college and quickly rejected.
2.) It is just as enjoyable as those that follow, starring Henry Dreden even.
3.) He was not famous. The other stories were solicited from him due to his fame.
IV. Heartbeat Four -
HERO is an adverb and PLOT is a verb.
a.) You're not Stephen King, the first sentence must rivet the reader:
"He was born with the gift of laughter and the knowledge that the world is mad."
"The worst thing about suicide is when you open your eyes and realize you didn't understand death any better than you did life."
b.) You paint in broad, stirring strokes a picture so evocative the reader just has to get a
c.) You give a glimpse of the world right before it explodes for your hero in an inciting incident.
d.) You make the reader root for your hero by making him/her relatable.
V. Heartbeat Five -
Great Prose is a STRIPTEASE -
a.) Suspense wins attention -
b.) Suspense is made up of a crucial question and the delay in answering that question.
c.) Great strippers all have mystique and confidence and the art to intrique the imagination.
d.) They veer away from the spotlight at times
as imagination is sparked by teasing, fliriting, and delay.
e.) At the heart of a great striptease looms the big question:
What is going to happen next?
You make the reader ask that question by flipping her weary, jaded expectations on their ear.
a.) The usual ending is your beginning.
b.) You start with what happens to a suicide AFTER the person dies.
You want to see how it is done?
a.) Go to Amazon and download the free sample to Dean Koontz's THE GOOD GUY.
b.) Trust me. You will BUY the book to see what happens next.
* I HOPE THIS HELPS IN SOME SMALL WAY, Roland