Monday, May 2, 2011
The Road to Rejection is Paved With Good Intentions
It's been eye-opening... but sometimes painful.
Over the course of revisions I have several people read sections of it, many of whom read the first chapter. Several of these are my very talented writing group. One of those people is a published author. One of those is a critically acclaimed author and writing teacher who is my phenomenal advisor this semester at Pacific University. Everyone has seemed to indicate I've got that first chapter down.
Then, this weekend, I was browsing a website of a major publisher. Perhaps I should mention I was browsing this website because I had just read a book published by them and was certain they could not have been a reputable publisher because this book was SO poorly written. Agonizingly poorly. And yet - turns out the publisher is a real, valid, traditional publisher with a pretty big name in the industry.
Anyhoo - on that website there were submission guidelines and helpful hints for writers, one of the top of which was this:
DO start your story with action or dialogue; DO NOT start with your character driving in a car back into town musing over why they left and why they're coming back.
Do you know how my book starts? A girl driving back into her hometown.
So now, even though I've had so many people tell me this first chapter is a great opening and develops the character well and sets up the tension nearly immediately, I feel my stomach bunching up.
If I send the opening pages for submission, will it automatically get rejected because it starts this way? Not that I would ever send it to that publisher above, but just the fact that they mention this as their top pet-peeve and thing NOT to do in a submission, am I setting myself up for failure?
I'm just not sure I have the heart to go back now and rewrite that first chapter yet again. At least not right now. I'm going to keep plowing ahead and finish this eighth or ninth set of revisions, and then maybe I'll have the courage to re-evaluate. But I don't feel better knowing I did the one thing they say not to do.
If I am STILL doing all the wrong things, am I hopeless??