Monday, January 24, 2011

R&R does NOT stand for Rest & Relaxation!


My life has just become a rollercoaster ride. By that I don’t mean all squeals and fun. I’ll explain.

I got a rejection on my first submission, actually I got two rejections on that particular ms five years ago. That meant they (the publisher/editor) didn’t think that one was right for the line I had written it for. I still have that one and all the lovely comments and suggestions from my then critique partners. Two of the loveliest ladies I’ve had the pleasure to build friendships with since. Rejections hurt. A lot. When you put your heart into something for a year like I did with that first ms, only to have an editor say it’s not good enough (for their needs at that time. That does not mean it's not a good book at all.)…that hurts.

I can’t express how much that one letter made me grow, how it made me become more determined as a writer. Through the pain and dejection I saw that I didn’t want to quit. In fact that thought never entered my mind, until the second ‘r’ over a year later. For some reason that one hurt worse. Maybe because it was from the same editor as the first time? I met that editor in person recently. I took the opportunity to thank him for turning that first ms down. He did me a huge favor! He showed me that I am strong and just how much I really do love writing about love.
To back track a bit, I’ve been writing since I was fifteen. Love stories. Romance. It never gets old for me. And this one setback turned out to be a blessing for me. A lesson in humility and strength of character.

I sent the sixty-thousand word medical manuscript about a mediflight emt-p and a veterinarian to Harlequin Mills & Boon-London in December. That was just four months after I first heard about the M&B Medical fast track. Start to finish- one chapter, three chapters and then, finally, a request for the full mss. I didn’t have it all written at the time and wrote the remainder (@ forty-thousand words) in two months once my editor asked for the full. Five weeks ago, on December 18, 2010 I emailed the completed manuscript to her as promised.

It’s been literally years since I’d even read a medical, let alone never written one. It never crossed my mind because I have no medical background other than a little vetting on my own animals over the years. None. I wanted to be a nurse when I was a young girl in school, but it never happened for me. Maybe because I loved horses and writing more; I don’t know. But I took on the challenge from my critique partner Melinda Pierce whole heartedly. Something else I have discovered about myself over these past five years- I love a challenge. Bring it on!

And then, today I checked my email, just five weeks and two days since sending it in, to find a R&R (revise and resubmit) waiting for me from my editor. That’s another step toward publication folks! It’s a step above a rejection. She didn’t say no. She’s saying “if you do this right, you might get your chance, all your hard work can pay off”. True, she’s not saying it’s a done deal. Not by a long shot. But as long as I know that, I’m okay. It’s okay.

So, do I take her challenge? Do I completely rewrite this story, alter these characters that I fell in love with while writing it? Or do I leave it the way it is and send it to another publisher, and write another story; start over at the beginning? I have to admit that I do have another in the early stages already. I started it less than a week after sending Perfect Doctor Viv off. Therapy. Staying busy is the key to getting through the waiting process. I’m taking a few days now to absorb her words, study the changes she’s suggesting. I won’t rush into this decision that could have the possibility to make or break me as a writer and who I am.

I know me; I know what I’ll do in the end
What would you do?



Nas Dean said...

Woot woot! Congrats on receiving an R&R! Think, absorb all her suggestions then make your decision.

Calisa Lewis said...

Thanks Nas. I'm trying to!

Alyssa Fox said...

Congrats! And you know what I'm going to tell you. If it was me, I'd re-write and resubmit. I also know it's a tough task to take on. I received a R&R and the editor wanted a new plot. That's a lot of rewriting for me. You can do this! Look at it this way it could lead to a sale. So what do you have to lose? If they pass after this then try another publisher.

Calisa Lewis said...

Thanks Ally. I may try another publisher in time IF it doesn't sell. But then I also believe you can only take a story so far before you have to admit one might just not have what it takes, file it under the bed, and start fresh with a whole new one.

Rather than bore the twinkies over and over with trying to make silk from a cow's ear, I would write the new one.

But I don't feel that way with this one. As long as the editor wants to give me the chance...

Melinda said...

This is such a hard decision and I know myself too. I would probably leave the ms as is and try elsewhere. BUT - that is not my suggestion for you. By the time I get something written and start editing, I'm tired of the same old people. I want something fresh and shiny, and I'll use what I've learned from the past to make the next better.

Good luck! I know you'll do what's right for you :o)

Calisa Lewis said...

Well, the time has come to make my final decision. Once I go there's no turning back.

I told the editor I am going for it! I'm taking the challenge and revising with intent to resubmit!!!!!!! Really, hw can I do otherwise when she gave such an indepth revision letter with the request? And has offered over and over to help in any way I need. Not only that, she LOVES MY VOICE!!!

All that aside. If I don't take this chance, if I don't even try I know I'll be left wondering if I passed up my real chance to get published. There's no going back either way I decide so I'd rather try, even if it gets rejected, than not and be left wondering 'what if'.

Thanks for all the positive support!

Donna said...

Good for you! You go girl!! I'm certainly proud of you. I know you can do it!

Sandy B said...

I think you made the right decision, especially when she offered indepth support. I had to reivse my ms. twice before the publisher accepted it, but I felt she knew better than I did what would and woldn't sell. I did get awfully tired of the characters, though. People ask if I am doing a sequel andI just roll my eyes.