Writing is like–a body-building competition?

bodybuilder_03_hd_picture_168085Oh, calm down! I’m trying to make a point here. I am often compelled to write posts that speak to both my writer and non-writer friends. I have a consistent need to help my non-writer friends understand my relentless pursuit of publication. Mainly, so they don’t think I’ve lost my mind. Also, so they understand why my book isn’t published yet. Yes, I’ve been at it awhile now.

I’ve likened the query/submission/rejection process to the book GO DOG GO, Making a pot of gumbo, and someone telling me my baby is ugly. Here I go again:

Imagine, if you will, wanting to enter a body-building competition. But, before you are given the go-ahead, you must pass very close scrutiny by a panel of judges. Each judge is meticulous about how he/she believes the human form should look. Some focus on the body shape as a whole, one is a leg man, one is abs all the way, one believes the each muscle should be clearly defined, but not too bulky. As I said, you would have to pass each of the judge’s specific ideals on how your body should look before gaining entry into the contest.

While you have a good idea of how to work out and get into shape, no one gives you a super-specific detailed printout listing each judge’s requirements. So, you do your best. The first try yields a simple: “You’re not right for this contest.” Of course, you think you look pretty great, but no one answers the question, why not. It could be anything.

Your legs might be too skinny, abs might not be well-defined enough, too bulky overall, etc. So, it’s back to the gym. After a few tries, a kind judge might give you some feedback: “You know, if you’d work on those abs just a little, I might be willing to let you in.” Bingo! (Of course, they’d never let me in to any sort of body-building competition, but I’m doing something here.)

It’s like that with crafting a novel and submitting it to agents. Different people focus on various elements of the story. Some are all about conflict, some the chemistry between the characters, and others are into setting and plot. It’s truly a guessing game.

It’s all very exciting right now, but hard on the nerves. Honestly, my skin is pretty thin by nature, but age, wisdom and all this rejection has toughened me up in a big way.

So next time you ask how the writing is going, I’ll either say it’s fine or I just might tell you. Be prepared!

Susan

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