Random thoughts on our impending doom and everyday life, courtesy of a Romance Writer who occasionally feels the need to talk like a Sailor.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

How to take that spanking and come back smiling!

Life is full of rejection. From the sly little ones, like...
“That’s an interesting shirt you’re wearing.”
“Oh. Nice.”
“Isn’t that cute.”
Through to the big juicy ones, like...
“You smell weird.”
“Good God, you suck.”
“No. I don’t want to marry you. And stop following me around.”

A man standing a field, waiting for his spanking. Obviously.
Yes. We’ve all been there. And if you’re of the writerly persuasion in some sense, you live there all the damn time. Don’t you? Well? Admit it! Yes, you do. Because there’s always another put down lurking around the corner. You know there is. It's probably even skulking. Let me over share with you now. Please. It’ll be cathartic for me.

On Saturday a snappy little short story that I was quite keen on went before a new friend of mine. A published author. Let’s code name her ‘Dragon Lady’ for the sake of this re-enactment. She loved the voice. She loved the story. Glowy warmth was a buzzing inside me but I wasn’t really surprised by her adoration. Everyone it had gone before previously had liked it too. And then she hit me with this. 

Dragon Lady: There is no emotion in your sex.
Me: WTF?
Dragon Lady: Yes. Sorry.
I was stunned. No emotion in the sex? Are you serious? The guy just battled zombies to be with her! What does a guy have to do to say he cares? I ranted, I raged, I drank somewhere in the region of four to five Silver Tequila’s with a dash of Guava. Just enough to give me a crystal clear perspective on the situation. And it did. Dragon Lady was wrong. So wrong, she couldn’t even see how wrong she was. She was simply that wrong. Wrongness leached from her. A lot like the black inky goop in that Florence and the Machine video, the one where she’s at the ice-skating rink.

My husband nodded and made all the right noises. (My husband is untold amounts of sublime and I have no idea how he puts up with me. Case in point.) Eventually, three hours later, I decided to sit back down in front of the story and actually look for myself. Vaguely, if you were twisted and wrong, you could perhaps have thought my super cool hero only battled zombies and climbed the side of the building to get laid. Perhaps. But not really. Though sorta. So I layered in some stuff. You could call it emotion, I suppose. It consisted of a bit of a hint here and there with regards to how he felt about the heroine. Before and after and while doing the deed. So there, take that Dragon Lady! Mwahaha! Emotion. Done. Feeling untold amounts of justified I emailed it off and waited with grand impatience. She loved it! Perfection! We’re best friends! We’re going to try critiquing for each other more often and we’ll sit together at the Awards dinner at conference! Huzzah!

Now, let’s look more closely at the various stages of rejection. 

1.       WTF?
2.       Where did that come from?
3.       They’re wrong.
4.       Probably jealous of me or something.
5.       Yeah, bet they are. Jealous of the genius inherent in my MS, “Mark the Lonely Goat Herder’s Erotic Self-Adventures”. Based on a true life story and everything!
6.       I knew it.
7.       But what was this bit that they wrote? That bit over here?
8.       Doesn’t make sense.
9.       Or does it?
10.   Sh*t.
11.   Head meets desk. Damn. They’re right.
12.   WTF do I do?
13.   Abandon ship. Quick! Stick it under the bed! Run! Hide!
14.   No. Wait. Hang on. Maybe there is hope. Maybe if I tweak here and there.
15.   Work ass off and actually incorporate some of the criticism.
16.   Emerge with shining MS clasped tight in your hot little hands. All the better for your having opened your mind and been willing to admit maybe you don’t know everything!

Alright, I’ve gone on long enough. Critting is hard to give and even harder to take. I don’t think I do either particularly well. There is much yet to learn. How do you do?


  1. It's all true, hard to take and hard to give. I think it is also about speed. Getting work out there takes a certain turnaround time and where critters are so important to get that objectivity being close to our work removes. I also think putting things in the draw for a while would make many of the issues jump out at us too. I don't however think it would allow opportunity to share the ins and outs of tentacle porn ( isn't there a Japanese erotic woodblock print??)

    1. Apparently tentacle porn has been happing in a rare sub-genre of manga for a while. I don't know. People are threatening to write it. T'would be our artistic duty to check it out. Very odd. I bet there are any number of woodblock prints. We really need to find them.

      Yes, distance helps. But you're right, it's the time factor.

  2. This is exactly what happened to me on the weekend too.

    1. Painful but necessary sometimes. *sigh* Hang in there, Keziah.

  3. I loved your rant. Will try to remember when I submit my first book and get that nifty critique that sends me over the edge. :) Oh, and as for talking like a sailor, I support that! Lol...

    Thanks for following the blog! :)

    1. Hey Erzabet, thanks for following! What are you writing? I'm thinking of doing a blog in support of swearing next week. People have been bashing it lately.

  4. Well, about swearing in a blog post - as Sten would say, "bleep bleepity bleep" (censored to keep your blog clean)

    You write great blog posts Kylie. I'm going to post yours instead of mine from now on :P

    PS LOVE the lego!
    PPS People are already writing tentacle porn. I guarantee it.

    1. I like a little crass, but that's me. And this is my blog where I enjoy mouthing off about all sorts of sh*t. (Don't you love the *? Isn't it cute?) Glad you enjoyed it, Cari. And Lego rocks. Always and ever.

      And tentacle porn... I'm awfully innocent sometimes. But it cracked me up hugely.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Wow, you're so much better at than I am. I've never recovered from my 3 rejections. And promptly sulked in the corner and quit writing.

    I'm sticking to cover art. I'll write when my muse comes back out of that dark corner...

    1. It hurts Valerie, sometimes more than others. I guess the skin does thicken afterall. A friend showed me a review where reading their book was likened to being eviscerated with a spork. Nice, huh? Not everyone is constructive sadly.

      And you do great cover art! Bute be brave little muse, come on out...