the day after I loved writing.

I chugged along on a story. 60 pages in five days, moving along beautifully. The story, the characters poured out of my fingers.

And then I got a rejection. It's a great rejection, considerate, thoughtful--complimentary even. But still, when I sit down today, the steam for the other story is gone.

I'm 13,000 words into this dreck, and there' s no sex, not even tension. Yo, you write smut, get to work on something that'll sell. This is barely a romance and it's nothing else, either. Who cares about these people? It starts out with such a whiner. Jeeeez louise, It's never going to sell. What's the point. Omigod, just go get another job.

Today I hate writing.

Tomorrow I think I'll go back to the standard operating middle and just work.

Back to the formerly rapidly-arriving story. It's one I started about two years ago. Starts out with a self pitying passive heroine--kind of like me today--but she does improve after this bit which I posted once upon a time:

“She is pathetic. At least fifty pounds overweight.”

More like sixty, but she didn’t interrupt because Jeff was going full tilt. “The really sad thing is she has no ambition. All these years and the only thing she wants is a clean kitchen. Remember that ancient sitcom . . .what’s it called -- Mary Hartman Mary Hartman? Dirty kitchen floor does the woman in. It’s not like we don’t have a maid to take care of that shit. Like that’s what I want to hear about at the end of the day.”

She nodded. It made for boring conversation all right.

“It’s not like I dislike her. But after nine years--” more like ten, actually, but again she didn’t interrupt-- “I want more. Life is too short for boring shit.” He gave a thick, deep “ha,” his familiar sound of disgust. “I don’t want her money. God knows she might as well have that since I’m doing okay in work.”

That was decent of him, really, because God also knew he was right about the rest of it.

She stifled a sigh as he continued. “She’s good to Martin. Marg’s a good step-mom though she really lets him walk all over her. Otherwise? I’d say her main quality is boring. Maybe stupid, even, I don’t know. I mean she doesn’t have a clue about us.” He laughed--a real one this time. “I wish I could think of nice things to say, but the woman is empty, a big balloon.”

A soft woman’s voice cooed, “Oh, honey, that’s all so aw—“
Jeff was apparently finished his diatribe, so she interrupted at last. “You forgot one biggie. She’s an eavesdropper.”

“Oh, Shit,” Jeff shouted.

Scrabbling noises. The other woman gave a familiar squeak and hung up. The phone clicked went to the dial tone.

The woman on the phone was Nancy Warden, Margaret realized. The neighbor three doors down. At last summer’s block party, she’d told Margaret all about her club and had offered to take her on a tour and show her the workout room. Margaret hadn’t mentioned that she’d belonged to that club since she was fifteen. She’d avoided the place lately.

Heavy footsteps thumped up the stairs. Margaret hung up, got off the bed and went over to lock the bedroom door. She’d have to think about this.

For years she’d been waiting for the moment she’d magically start dropping pounds, which would naturally transform her life. The before and after photo in the ads. The lightning strike that began the process: “I saw the picture of myself at the company Christmas party and knew I had to change.” In the after photo a man smiles at her ecstatically.

Oops, she must have missed her moment. The time to change her life had come and gone and she’d somehow lost everything. Damn.


  1. I like this a whole lot. Very much so.

  2. I finally screwed up my courage and sent in a couple of stories to 'This American Life" about 6 months ago. I got a form rejection from their intern 2 weeks ago. I know the show is on hiatus right now. WTF? And she doesn't mention which story she is rejecting. It was nice and polite with faded ink on it from the next photocopied rejection that was stuck to it. Kind of takes the wind out of my sails. I would put it with my filing cabinet of rejection letters but I ritualistically burned the filing cabinet in Phoenix.

  3. Any one of your stories are PERFECT FOR THEM. They are fools, FOOOOOOOOLs, idiots for not recognizing that.

    It's on hiatus? Boogers.

    I used to shred rejections and feed them to the worms in my worm bin. Turns out you ought to keep rejections if you ever think you're going to make money on writing. Rejections are good for the tax file.

  4. Hugs, Kate. Rejection never feels good. I do like this, though. Women's Fiction? If this is the beginning, it sure starts off with a bang and the heroine obviously has a lot of change ahead of her!

  5. This is really good. I like it a lot too. I'm not too big on stories with asshat husbands who need dumped (head goes WHY DID SHE MARRY HIM?) but sometimes you need that plotline and I really like how this is written.

  6. Hugs on the rejection. But keep writing on this story, because I love, love, love the beginning. I want to read more. Right. Now. You know where to find a cp if you need one, right??

  7. Problem is finding your niche in a market that seems obsessed with eroticism. Maybe for this particular piece you need to just write it and not worry about the sex quotient. Leave that to Summer to take care of in her stories. Write this one for you and worry about the marketability later. Perhaps part of you is ready to leave trad romance behind and go to new places.

    BTW, I'm still working on what I'm supposed to be doing for you, but got busy organizing my mother-in-laws photos yesterday which ate up a huge portion of the evening. This woman moved from home to assisted living and left the mess for the fam to clean up. Don't think she every threw anything away or ever organized. her photos of sixty years of life are all still in their little store envelopes, never displayed in an album and tossed together with no rhyme or reason as to year (or even decade!)
    Because I'm super-organized (and because her boxes are now taking up my storage space) I've begun doing what she should have all along--putting them in albums. I'm not worrying about chronological order because it's impossible, but at least they'll finally be viewable. And I've thrown out all the dreck pictures, blurry, faded, backs of heads, etc.)
    Okay, I just realized I ranted on your blog. Sorry. That's like farting in public isn't it?


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