Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Positive Reinforcement

Like a lot of writers, I keep my rejection slips in a folder, but sometimes I wonder what I'm going to do with them. Mostly, they just depress me and I'm hardly going to brandish a fistful at the first agent or editor who signs me up! The amount of rejections you've received seems to be held as a badge of honour in some circles, in that the more you've amassed before you get published, the better a writer you somehow are. True, you have persisted and triumphed over adversity, but some of those agents and editors must have been on to something...

For my own part I've decided to stop looking at the rejections (I have about 30) and make a folder of all the positive comments I've had about my writing. I was very pleased this week to receive the judges' comment forms for Undiscovered Voices (I believe the people with honorary mentions got theirs too?) so they will go in the folder. Several of the judges had agreed on the things they liked and they all disagreed on what they thought I could improve (thus cancelling each other out!).

I started thinking about other stuff I could include: the complementary emails from authors who I had pestered to look at my work, nice comments from written critique sessions, even some positive comments from the rejection file. I will also include my wife's immortal comment: "It made a lot more sense than the last book you wrote" as this is high praise coming from her.

So now I think about it, the positive folder might just get to be thicker than the one with the rejections in it! I leave you with my favourite bit of positive feedback, a review of Back from the Dead written by an 11 year old. And no, they weren't related to me, and yes I've reproduced it as close to the original as possible (note the vampire vs zombie confusion):

I really enjoyed reading it. If you were to write a I think you should write a sequel as you have left it as a at a perfect point! Leaving the reader waiting for more! I liked the way that you rea revealed that he was a vampi zombie. Also I liked the tittle. I really think you should consider writing a sequel !!!! I would definetly read it !!!!!

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