The Mark Blog

My Fiction Shall Rise Again

It’s T-minus one week until the mid-project review. This means the entire next week is dedicated to making sure I know every motivation, action, word, and emotion of every character in my novel and how it all factors into the work as a whole. Currently, I am worried. I thought the rewrites were making the novel more dynamic, layered and compelling, but now I fear that I just moved things around, added things, deleted things, and basically made it look like the same pig with different lipstick.

This fear is probably heightened by a rejection I received this week for one of my short stories. In the Mark Program, we don’t talk about rejection. We talk about possibilities. We are laser-focused on what the best possibility for the story is and then reflecting that choice through character. Surrounded by this cocoon of possibility and exploration, I forgot about the reality of rejection. I was quickly reminded when I received a self-addressed stamped envelope with the first page of my story stuffed in it with no other words on the page other than my own.

There was no return address on the envelope and I couldn’t read the postmark of the city or state from which it was sent. Talk about rejection. It is a long short story and I knew it would be rejected on that aspect alone. It has since been edited, but this draft was sent out during one of my submitting binges, which are usually brought on by my own neuroses about not getting anywhere in life. Rejections are never fun, but when you don’t even know who is rejecting you? That is a whole new kind of misery. I was embarrassed that I didn’t know who fathered this rejection. It could have been any number of the journals I spent the night with so many months ago.

So much for being the loose girl of literature. Now that I have had my fun, it’s back to working on my staid and steady relationship with my novel. After some anonymous night of submission, it’s time to return to the realm of possibility. Although my fling with short stories is a recurring behavioral pattern, my commitment to my novel remains the most important thing in my literary life. I lull myself to sleep at night with a vision of that random editor who rejected my story picking up my novel from the new fiction table and muttering, “I knew her when she was just a two-bit floozy slinging short stories. I never knew she had it in her.”