After my interview with Victoria, I spent a lot of time looking at the notes I'd taken, blogged about it to suss out my problems (and hopefully, imparted some useful information and advice in the process). Then I launched straight into rewrites. That would make this about the seventh or eighth draft since I banged out the original manuscript around March 2009 (maybe more--there were a lot of cuts and detours I'd removed.)
It's likely that when you start out, you might not get as detailed a rejection letter. You will likely not get the opportunity to speak with an editor at all. It's easy to give up and dismiss your work as a waste of time and energy. But I say, NO! It was not a waste of time! Do not give up. Even if you feel like you need to work on something else, go ahead, but come back! All is not lost!
If there's anything I've learned in general about writing in the years I've been doing it, it's that momentum has to be kept up or you end up dead in the water. Victoria's comments gave me lots of direction, and while I started at page one on polishing and tightening, it also got me into the story so I could make the major plot changes that would ramp up the romantic conflict--the thing that was really keeping me from being published.
This lesson reminded me of this:
That's right, when you hit a wall or you start to get grumpy, listen to the crazy blue fish.
Toward the end of our chat, I asked Victoria straight out where she thought I should go with my rejected MS. She asked me what my schedule was like, and I told her I would start revisions ASAP. Then she asked what else I was working on.
"Well, I've just finished the first draft of my fourth book, which is a sequel to this one about the wrestling coach, Kyle Peters, who is training a female MMA fighter who wants to go pro..."
Her eyes glazed over. I cut myself off.
"Er...I'm working on it. I need to sit on it and let it breathe."
Because a story can really breathe lodged under my ass, apparently.
See, after the enlightening discussion we'd just had, I realized where all my problems were and was therefore less enthusiastic about it than I should have been/was before my bubble burst.
And then my brain went into overdrive. I could fix things. I could work on the romantic conflict, the subtle characterizations, the minor details...and I could catch them all on the second draft. (And the third and the fourth...) I knew what some of the issues were, and would be. Of course I could make it better!
To borrow another of Disney's aha! moments:
Bottom line: Never give up! Never surrender! Keep on swimming! Keep moving forward! Keep working on that book!
I hope to have my revisions done before my wedding day...but until then, stay tuned for more on the writing journey!