Rejections and Revisions
In writing, art…really, in life, rejection happens. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, our efforts don’t match with what the other side needs or wants. Sometimes we’re given revision notes by the other party, on what might fix or improve the work.
How to address those rejections and revision ideas? Our reactions can have a vast impact on our future efforts, our risk-taking, and well-earned self-esteem.
Here are some tips I’ve learned in some 30-odd years of lobbing projects out into the wild blue yonder, and getting (mostly) rejections thrown back.
- It’s not personal. Unless the other party is a complete troll or a personal enemy, the rejection is about the project, not me. If they’re a troll, I ignore them. If they are an enemy, I’ll have had other reasons for engaging them, and they will have other reasons for responding. Mostly, impersonal rejections just mean the project wasn’t a good fit. That’s good! Why would I want to work with a business or a partner who wasn’t 100% supportive of the project?
- Learn from it. If the other party has been kind enough to include why they rejected something, maybe that will give clues to either fix or amplify the problem area. ‘Fix’ is a given, if it’s a real mistake. ‘Amplify’ only means that I struck a nerve with the other party, and it might actually be a selling feature to other people.
- Was I ready to advance on this project, to begin with? Like all creative people, I sometimes think I’m ahead of where I really am. Rejections and critique from qualified professionals and astute amateurs can give me a better baseline.
- Don’t dwell on details. Once I’ve logged in the outcome to a spreadsheet and learned what I can from Point 2, I forget about that particular rejection. No means No. Anything other than Yes is still No, no matter how much it’s dressed up in form-letter blandishments or personal advice.
- It happens to everyone. J.K. Rowling recently shared on some of her rejection letters for the first Richard Galbraith book. ‘For inspiration, not revenge,’ she offers. In response, many other writers and artists shared some of their rejection stories.
- Learn to like revisions! In my work as an artist I’ve slowly learned that a first draft or first effort can have big problems. I’m not doing myself or my art any favors by pretending those flaws aren’t there. Whether I discover them or they’re revealed by an outside critique, I have a process to deal with them. First I allow myself some ego-driven flailing time to wallow in disappointment (can be a week, can be two years.) Then I look at the work, as coldly and rationally as possible, and ask myself ‘What will fix this?’ When I’m feeling strong enough or obsessed enough to move forward, I tackle it. Most of the time, I love the work even more as I revise it.
I think my most important point about rejections and revision requests: they show I cared enough to try, in the first place.
Crown Prince, techno-geek, and secret sadomasochist Valier has lusted for years after the gorgeous gladiator called “The Diamond.” Meeting the escaped slave on a rooftop, Valier discovers Moro Dalgleish wants suicide before his former masters can reclaim him.
Infected with a deadly symbiont, Valier proposes empty sex to satisfy his urges and grant Moro’s release from a horrible life. Neither man plans for Moro to survive, or how the morning after will shake three empires to their foundations.
M. Crane Hana © 2017
All Rights Reserved
A thousand spectators watched Jason Kee-DaSilva, the Leopard of Saba, ruin his career two minutes after his comeback victory.
The Golden Cage Arena spanned the top floor of a gaudy casino skyscraper in south Cedar-Saba. At the center of the domed auditorium, a thirty-foot circular steel floor slowly revolved to the right. An airy dome of gold-plated steel filigree mesh arched thirty feet over it. The mesh was stronger than a spaceship’s skin. Two gates led into the Cage. Once a fight began, they’d stay locked until one man lost and yielded to the other.
DaSilva had broken two men already tonight: two in credits, the last in flesh.
The deceptively delicate dome had just lifted from the bloodstained circular steel floor to let a cadre of medics through. Huge holo screens in the dome played highlights from the first rounds of battle or lingered over shots of the Leopard swiftly claiming his last victim. He hadn’t been brutal, merely thorough. The orgasm he’d wrung from the other man had been as much a symbol of victory as the final punch-down.
In better days, DaSilva had been a glorious bronze godling of the Cage, always dressed to show off his sleek muscles, dapple-bleached short hair, and the leopard-spot tattoos covering his shoulders and spine. He’d regained most of the muscle, though it was still pared down from illness. Haunted hollows showed around brown eyes, and his hair was growing out to plebian brown curls. His knee-length kilt was simple grayish-brown poly-silk, without Garibey Shemua colors or concentric teardrop pattern.
Now DaSilva looked up angrily, shrugging off the lackluster attentions of his own single hired attendant and the man’s low-budget medical kit. In place of DaSilva’s legendary anthem, a rights-free generic martial score rumbled in the background from expensive speaker systems.
In the first tier of seats behind the three red-clad referees, a bald man in Garibey Shemua’s purple and silver robes tapped studiously at the keyboard manifesting across his left sleeve. He glanced at DaSilva, as if just now noticing the fighter’s thunderous expression.
DaSilva glared at the Shemua official and then pointed toward the nearest speaker. “I paid, damn you. I wrote my anthem years ago!” he shouted, stepping aside to let the medics work on the other fighter.
“While you were under contract, Sero DaSilva. We’re happy to lease the rights back to you for single-use or month-to-month,” the bald man said with a mild tone, pitched to carry perfectly past the low music. The hovering audio drones made certain his words were broadcast over the whole arena.
“I paid yesterday.”
The Shemua official’s polite, calm expression never wavered. “Which was applied to last month’s fees. Which were in arrears, I’m afraid. It’s a new month. Your employment liaison should have told you to pay today, too.”
“My liaison went on a convenient fishing trip to Lariden Lake last night and couldn’t be reached. What the hell do you people even want?”
The Shemua official lifted a red metal collar from his right sleeve and waggled it in the air. The collar clasp glittered with purple enamel and white diamonds in Shemua’s concentric teardrop emblem. A concerted gasp came from the spectators who knew what it was: the Leopard’s Red-Band bonder’s collar he’d worn while being owned by Garibey Shemua.
“This can all work out for the best, Sero DaSilva, if you’d just see reason and come back.” Until the previous year, the Leopard of Saba had been one of Shemua’s feted, pampered bondslave fighters. Their star.
DaSilva stepped a pace backward.
The crowd moaned as one. Another onlooker began slowly, derisively clapping: a huge old man clad in a brilliant white suit, sprawled a dozen seats down from the referees. The camera drones focused on him, then longer on the silent, nearly naked man kneeling in front of him.
A buzz ran through the crowd.
“The Diamond.” A whisper from a few hundred hushed voices, as everyone was reminded of who else had watched every moment of DaSilva’s three comeback fights. The silent man’s black collar indicated a murderer or traitor under arena sentence. His odd black-and-white coloring marked him as a legend equal to the Leopard. Heavy cosmetics rimmed the man’s eyes, exaggerated his refined cheekbones, and shaped his lips into a courtesan’s scarlet smile.
Flinching at the sight of himself on the giant screens, the painted man lowered his head in a spill of long black curls and huddled against his master’s legs.
Everyone in the vast room saw how long the Leopard looked at the Diamond.
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Meet the Author
M. Crane Hana lives in a flat place filled with cactus. She writes romances in all flavors, spends too much time world building her sword & planet fantasies and space operas, and makes museum-grade artifacts from cultures that never existed. Publishing credits: (as Marian Crane) ‘The Blood Orange Tree’, Such A Pretty Face anthology, Meisha-Merlin 2000. ‘Saints and Heroes’, Thrones of Desire anthology, Cleis Press 2012.
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6/30 Erotica For All – http://eroticaforall.co.uk
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