Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Believing in a Story

The past few weeks I've been working on revising THE HOUSE ON HIDEAWAY HILL. This is the big, single title-length story that was passed on a few weeks ago. There were a few snippets of feedback in the letter to my agent that I paid attention to. So I've been making some changes before we start sending it out again.

Here's a funny thing about rejection. It's a bit of a balancing act, a pro and con list that you have to weigh and decide your next step. On one hand, if the book has been rejected, it's entirely possible that it was rejected because it was substandard and not ready for publication. You have to decide if you believe in the story enough to try again, somewhere else. You have to remind yourself that you need to look at it objectively. That is a very hard thing to do. Because despite the many messages you get from a rejection letter, the one that shouts the loudest is the one that says It's Not Good Enough.

As writers we're genetically programmed to listen to those voices, I think. The Crows of Doubt come cawing the moment they smell disappointment in the air.

But here's something I realized about believing in a story: it's not about thinking that your story is fine. It's about realizing that it might not be perfect but you believe in it enough to work at fixing it, make it better.

I feel that way about Hideaway Hill. Even as I was revising the front end, and trying to ignore the whispers of doubt in my ear, I knew that I believed in this book and that I'm not ready for the journey to be over. Then I hit the last 100 pages and I KNEW it was the right thing. I found myself blinking away tears several times. And when I read the words THE END, I gave a big, happy sigh - totally spontaneously. I believe in this book. I believe in this story and the series and I believe I can do this.

There have been books I've put aside after rejection. There are ones in my R file that I've looked at, wondering if they were worth revising now that I'm further along in my development as a writer. They're not. I don't believe in those stories. I would be far better off writing something new.

But this one? Yeah. I'm still excited about it. might take a while, and I don't know where the road will lead, but the story isn't over for this one yet. And you can bet I'll keep you posted.


  1. Anonymous12:21 p.m.

    Wow, I feel quite moved actually after reading what you have said about believing in your story. I have felt EXACTLY like that about particular stories I have written. Even though they were returned to me I still BELIEVE that it's not over for the characters, it can be fixed.

    Your words have reinforced that belief in me. THANK YOU.

    Khaleda Ali

  2. I, too, have felt that way. And I feel lucky that we now live at a time when we have more choices for publication. I know your story will find a home.

  3. I really needed this post today! Thank you, Donna!!

  4. Thanks Khaleda, Christy and Catherine!