For the "losers".

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sierramcconnell
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For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 1st, 2011, 11:26 am

You know, I can't say I didn't see it coming. After all, the first paragraph is by no way the best way to judge an entire book. Especially one as involved as the one I wrote.

At first I kinda got a little hopeful, scrolling down, though I knew there was no way in Hell I would be on that list. I thought there was always a chance.

Perhaps I should have used the original first paragraph instead, I thought. The one I liked. With the train and the passengers. It was much better to me, but everyone wanted action.

Then I felt a little angry. Well, I'm kind of glad he's not an agent anymore. He's an idiot. He picked the same stuff over and over again. I'm glad I can't query him.

Then a little silly for saying that, because it sounds so stupid and primadonna. Okay, you're just wounded. Lick it and stop whining and move on. You did this to see if you were really worthy of writing and you aren't. So take it like a woman and walk.

[deep breath, stand tall, junk the writing dream] There. Better.

Now focus on the other things you can do and try to forget all about the scribbles no one likes.

Anyone else go through a mental aw-this-sucks-moment for five minutes? I know I should probably vote, but honestly none of those even remotely click with me because they're just not my genre. I'm picky about what I read and none of it...clicks.

And no, I don't think you're an idiot, Nathan. I was just mad. I think the same thing about my betas until I go watch some television and then go back to edit, agreeing with pretty much every word. XD
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by KatieT » February 1st, 2011, 12:13 pm

Sierra, I'm right there with you. Initially, I just shrugged it off, then decided to read the winning paragraphs, to see what they had that mine didn't. In short, I wasn't blown away, but I see that they are all interesting in their own way. Mine, obviously, wasn't quite interesting enough (but out of more than 1,200 entries, that's understandable), so I'm going to go back to it, read it, and see if there's something I can do to make it better.

Chin up, peanut :)
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it. - Anais Nin

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 1st, 2011, 12:23 pm

KatieT wrote:Sierra, I'm right there with you. Initially, I just shrugged it off, then decided to read the winning paragraphs, to see what they had that mine didn't. In short, I wasn't blown away, but I see that they are all interesting in their own way. Mine, obviously, wasn't quite interesting enough (but out of more than 1,200 entries, that's understandable), so I'm going to go back to it, read it, and see if there's something I can do to make it better.

Chin up, peanut :)
That, definitely. Maybe the one with the baby, but only because I like babies. I think this might be why I find it so hard to find something to read these days. I just don't follow the norm. People and I aren't the same. They're blue, I'm red.

Ah, people are like sheep, and I'm just some lonely bird, wondering what it would be like to have a mass of fluffy stuff hanging off of you, but continually forgetting what it feels like to fly.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by polymath » February 1st, 2011, 12:35 pm

I shower under the stream of a sandblaster, dry off with a flamethrower, brush my teeth with a metal grinder, comb my hair with a wire brush. My eau de cologne is muriatic acid. There's a chisel and a rasp on my bathroom vanity for other daily ablutions.

I'm about scraped, chipped, dissolved, burnt down to the nub. But it's the core of my being.

I've felt the endless stings and fatal wounds of rejection. There is no sense of approval, acceptance, of belonging to a larger society in my isolated being. It's all been alienated, taken away, pushed out. From the gloomy bottom depths of my well of despair, I am a phoenix nascent, natal, waiting for rebirth. I'm tired of marking time. I'm angry, at myself, for being held down by confusion and wanting it all, the glory, the fame, the wealth, and being my own worst problem. I'm happy, content at least, that it doesn't really matter that I don't matter in the greater scheme of things. I am a miniscule mote before the cosmos. Yet today's another day, a brighter day than yesterday, one day closer to my goal. If it will not be, then so be it. The journey has been reward enough.
Last edited by polymath on February 1st, 2011, 1:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 1st, 2011, 1:26 pm

polymath wrote:I shower under the stream of a sandblaster, dry off with a flamethrower, brush my teeth with a metal grinder, comb my hair with a wire brush. My eau de cologne is muriatic acid. There's a chisel and a rasp on my bathroom vanity for other daily ablutions.

I'm about scraped, chipped, dissolved, burnt down to the nub. But it's the core of my being.

I've felt the endless stings and fatal wounds of rejection. There is no sense of approval, acceptance, of belonging to a larger society in my isolated being. It's all been alienated, taken away, pushed out. From the gloomy bottom depths of my well of dispair, I am a phoenix nascent, natal, waiting for rebirth. I'm tired of marking time. I'm angry, at myself, for being held down by confusion and wanting it all, the glory, the fame, the wealth, and being my own worst problem. I'm happy, content at least, that it doesn't really matter that I don't matter in the greater scheme of things. I am a miniscule mote before the cosmos. Yet today's another day, a brighter day than yesterday, one day closer to my goal. If it will not be, then so be it. The journey has been reward enough.
I get the gist of what you say, poly. With all the crap we go through daily, you would wonder why some of us still seek acceptance, but we do, because it's human nature to find others of our kind to say, "You did good". Especially because no one else has.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Margo » February 1st, 2011, 1:55 pm

Rejection is so incredibly hard, but please please please... Not worthy to write? Losers? How can anyone possibly be in a good frame of mind to handle the years of work it takes to become a good writer with a relationship to writing that prompts this kind of a judgement about self-worth?
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 1st, 2011, 2:36 pm

Margo wrote:Rejection is so incredibly hard, but please please please... Not worthy to write? Losers? How can anyone possibly be in a good frame of mind to handle the years of work it takes to become a good writer with a relationship to writing that prompts this kind of a judgement about self-worth?
Because I have been writing for years and if I'm not good by several years worth of work, then perhaps there's something else out there for me? I've always been more of a support type anyway. I'm really good at selling things. Maybe it's time to open a shop or something.

Besides, I told myself if I didn't win this, it was God's way of telling me I wasn't going to be a writer. God spoke.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Moni12 » February 1st, 2011, 3:08 pm

Even though you might not fit someone else's standard doesn't mean you're not good. This is why I don't post my pages and won't be putting up a query letter again for critiquing. Everyone has great ideas, but they conflict with mine. I exchange work with my sister because I know she'll be honest (a little more than I ask for sometimes). She's a great critique partner! Anyways, as many rejections as I know I've faced I know that my work is good. Just because some agents don't like it don't mean the general public won't.
I say keep at it! If you think your writing is good chances are someone else will.

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by leahzero » February 1st, 2011, 3:12 pm

Something I've learned recently after subjecting my writing to cold public scrutiny:

It's all subjective.

I made it as an Honorable Mention, which I honestly wasn't expecting, but that's technically a loser, too. :D

I can see what Nathan liked in most of the paragraphs, but there are some that just don't resonate at all with me. That's not to say they're technically bad—merely that they possess some ineffable emotional quality that doesn't affect any two people the same way. What worked for Nathan may not work for each of us. If the writing has no obvious technical flaws, then judgment comes down to personal taste.

When you query a book, you'll see these phrases a lot (especially in form rejections): "This business is subjective. Another agent may feel differently."

Once you reach a certain level of technical competence, the opinions you hear will be largely subjective.

And out of the sheer number of contest entries submitted, anyone's chance of being recognized was extremely slim. Which is why I was surprised to even rate an Honorable Mention--I know my writing is solid, but there were hundreds of other solid entries, too. It ultimately comes down to personal taste.

Keep your chin up. Rejections are not indictments on your skill. If you've reached a certain level of technical competence, a rejection is usually going to tell you more about the reader than about your writing—at least in the querying process, and in contests.

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 1st, 2011, 3:18 pm

Actually, if you're a good enough writer, you should be able to emotionally snare anyone. Look at the books that are bestsellers now.

As I said, I've been writing for years. Not once has anyone thought me better than 'honorable mention' or 'we're sorry, but you just don't quite fit our qualifications for publication'.

But it's okay. I'm getting on in years and it's time to find something better to do with the hands while I have them, and let the young pups have fun just blurting something out and getting along. You either have it or you don't. And as I said also, God said this isn't for me. I can be a fairly good support person, but if God says No, I can't get past that.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by KatieT » February 1st, 2011, 6:10 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:Actually, if you're a good enough writer, you should be able to emotionally snare anyone. Look at the books that are bestsellers now.
Not true. I consider Peter S. Beagle to be a literary genius. His works move me like almost no other author ever has, or, likely, ever will. His popular Fantasy novel, "The Last Unicorn", roped me in emotionally, and has been one of the very few books I would readily recommend to anyone. With that said, some people "get it" and some people don't. I've had friends say that "The Last Unicorn" touched them deeply, while others were like, "Eh. It's about a unicorn."

I'm saying all this to tell you that if writing is your passion, keep writing. Many people write for personal reasons, with no desire to become published. Others, like me, write for personal reasons, but also wouldn't mind selling a novel if the opportunity came along.

God's answers are not always "Yes" or "No". Sometimes His answer is, "Not now."
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it. - Anais Nin

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 1st, 2011, 6:17 pm

KatieT wrote:God's answers are not always "Yes" or "No". Sometimes His answer is, "Not now."
I really hate that line. I really, really do. Because if that's the case, he's been telling me "not now" about a lot of things.

Actually, it should be, "not now, not ever" considering the lack of time I have... Because honestly, when?

And by the way, I know quite a lot of people in the LJ world who quite heartily enjoy the Last Unicorn. It's one of those, what do they call it, sleeper hits? Underground followings? Cult classics?

So I think he did fairly well, actually.

And if you like unicorns...I happen to recommend The Unicorn's Secret Series by Kathleen Duey. Its a 'I can read' series, but it's a wonderful story regardless, and I'm saving it for my niece when she can actually read, not just 'pretend' read.
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Re: For the "losers".

Post by KatieT » February 2nd, 2011, 12:09 pm

sierramcconnell wrote:
KatieT wrote:God's answers are not always "Yes" or "No". Sometimes His answer is, "Not now."
I really hate that line. I really, really do. Because if that's the case, he's been telling me "not now" about a lot of things.

Actually, it should be, "not now, not ever" considering the lack of time I have... Because honestly, when?

And by the way, I know quite a lot of people in the LJ world who quite heartily enjoy the Last Unicorn. It's one of those, what do they call it, sleeper hits? Underground followings? Cult classics?

So I think he did fairly well, actually.

And if you like unicorns...I happen to recommend The Unicorn's Secret Series by Kathleen Duey. Its a 'I can read' series, but it's a wonderful story regardless, and I'm saving it for my niece when she can actually read, not just 'pretend' read.
Unfortunately -or maybe even fortunately depending on how you look at it- God is not as black-and-white as we all make Him out to be. Yes, his answer may truly be "Not now", or "Wait", or even "Not now, not ever" as you suggest... I don't pretend to know what His plans are for you, or for any of us. Just keep seeking His direction, and He will show you, if you're willing to be lead...

In regards to the following of "The Last Unicorn" on LJ, yes, I know =) I actually created a community on there, though I haven't done anything with it in quite some time. I wouldn't say he's done "fairly well", though he is a published and respected author. He struggles to pay his bills like all the rest of us (see conlanpress.com/youcanhelp), doesn't get paid much -or at all in some cases, and yet he still writes...
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it. - Anais Nin

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by Mira » February 2nd, 2011, 8:03 pm

Sierra - I know how you're feeling. I always get pretty bummed after losing one of Nathan's contests, too. But one contest is just that - one contest. And it's a tricky sort of contest, too - a first paragraph contest. It's looking at something under a microscope, rather than at the bigger picture, so it's evaluating for particular things.

I think Nathan chose extremely well. He has a good eye, and the paragraphs he picked were outstanding.

However, if you count honorable mentions, there were 1,498 other paragraphs he didn't pick. I think some of those paragraphs were pretty good, too and some of those writers are writing amazing things. I know they are. I've read some of them.

I understand that it's hard to figure out what to do, but....and I know I'm getting abit personal here, I hope that's okay, but you may want to take a second look at the promise you made to yourself. Although I do often ask the Universe for guidance, I think dictating how that guidance will come is a bit risky. To say to the Universe, or God, if Nathan doesn't pick me out of 1515 other entries, I'll never write again....well, that's sort of intense. The Universe may have other plans here for the contest, or the winners, or a different path planned out for you. It's also, and forgive me for saying this, but a bit too easy an answer. Whether you continue to write or not, that's something that should come from your heart.

Also, I honestly think you're being a bit unfair to Nathan. He just ran a little contest, and slaved away for hours on it. Let's not make this do or die.

Because it's not. It's just a contest.

In fact, what you're going through from losing this contest might make good fodder for your writing. Think about it.

But whatever you decide - good luck.

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Re: For the "losers".

Post by sierramcconnell » February 3rd, 2011, 12:38 pm

Mira wrote:Sierra - I know how you're feeling. I always get pretty bummed after losing one of Nathan's contests, too. But one contest is just that - one contest. And it's a tricky sort of contest, too - a first paragraph contest. It's looking at something under a microscope, rather than at the bigger picture, so it's evaluating for particular things.
After posting the paragraph and having it torn apart in the First Paragraph section, I can see what particular things.
Mira wrote:I think Nathan chose extremely well. He has a good eye, and the paragraphs he picked were outstanding.

However, if you count honorable mentions, there were 1,498 other paragraphs he didn't pick. I think some of those paragraphs were pretty good, too and some of those writers are writing amazing things. I know they are. I've read some of them.

I understand that it's hard to figure out what to do, but....and I know I'm getting abit personal here, I hope that's okay, but you may want to take a second look at the promise you made to yourself. Although I do often ask the Universe for guidance, I think dictating how that guidance will come is a bit risky. To say to the Universe, or God, if Nathan doesn't pick me out of 1515 other entries, I'll never write again....well, that's sort of intense. The Universe may have other plans here for the contest, or the winners, or a different path planned out for you. It's also, and forgive me for saying this, but a bit too easy an answer. Whether you continue to write or not, that's something that should come from your heart.
Everything I attempt to do, everyone else can do better. It's sort of like that song, only backwards. You see, I just haven't been feeling it lately, and I left it on this contest as a decision maker. Is this world for me? And considering an anon won...well we see how that is. I just don't think this world is for me. I'm not cut out to be a writer. I don't have the heart for it. I'm a storyteller. Not a marketer. Not a pusher. Not someone who can sell themselves or be dishonest to get by. I can't do what people want me to, to get where I want to be. So though I might like to write, the things I would need to do to be a writer, well, I can't do them. And so it saddens me so much I can't write anymore. Just like everything else I try to do. This world isn't built for people like me.
Mira wrote:Also, I honestly think you're being a bit unfair to Nathan. He just ran a little contest, and slaved away for hours on it. Let's not make this do or die.

Because it's not. It's just a contest.

In fact, what you're going through from losing this contest might make good fodder for your writing. Think about it.

But whatever you decide - good luck.
I get inspiration from everything. I could probably write you a story from anything you gave to me. Or from a lunch break walk. But no one wants that. No one wants me. And that's the problem. That was why it wasn't picked. But it's okay. No more writing for me. I understand that now. The universe has spoken.
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