Lordy! I'm absolutely amazed the postman didn't have a hernia delivering my mail this morning. There were eleven chunky packages - all from Take a Break...
Yep - ELEVEN!
Eleven stories rejected in one hit.
I didn't even remember submitting eleven stories and thought there must have been a mistake and they'd sent me someone else's manuscripts as well - but no, sadly they were all mine. Take a Break must have been storing them up for ages to give me a lovely surprise... Eleven rejections in one go has to be a record - even for me. And despite me saying, when I subbed them, that if they weren't accepted then I didn't want the manuscripts returned, I've got them back in all their unwanted glory. And, as I've said, they all came in separate envelopes.
Eleven envelopes each containing one rejected story, one standard letter saying they were rejected as they weren't suitable, and one set of guidelines to explain to me what "suitable" is. Aaargh!!!!
Eleven rejections at once is a pretty good way to knock the bounce out of even the most cock-eyed optimist - and with the eleven unwanted and unloved manuscripts in front of me it makes it sort of even more gruesomely real... So, yes - sob! It's official. I'm a failure. No, worse than that, I'm a fat failure. I'm probably going to have to eat cheese. Or a Toblerone. Or both. Together.
Now (half a day on from the above litany of awfulness) I've stopped swearing and pouting and grizzling and behaving like a prima donna, and have taken notice of a) the guidelines, and b) my rejected stories, and c) re-read my latest copies of Take A Break and Fiction Feast, and have to grudgingly admit they might have a point. Okay, they might be right. All right - yes, they were right. Maybe my stories weren't quite suitable... just maybe... But I'd have appreciated them being not quite suitable in smaller quantities. The sheer volume of not suitableness is just a bit overwhelming.
So, being positive here, currently I'm sitting with eleven TaB rejections, five Woman's Weekly rejections, and that three-part serial that might just be okay for My Weekly when it's been rewritten with all the bleak bits removed... So, being even more positive, that means I've got sixteen already-written stories that just need a bit of a tweak (and a serial that probably only needs working on for a day or so!!!) - then all I need to do is find a new home for them... Piece of cake (oooh no! Don't mention cake!) - this writing game is easy-peasy - just have to try and work the eleven rather sordid TaBs into something nicely cosy for People's Friend, and cull the WWs into something sassy with a twist in the tail for TaB... There! Sorted! Bring on the next problem...
On the plus side, Little,Brown have sent me three great reviews for Happy Birthday which all appeared in papers over the weekend and it isn't even out yet. This cheered me up no end as everyone seemed to like it and said all the right things like - funny, warm, cheerful, humorous, charming, compassionate, well-observed characters, satisfying story lines, gentle, romantic and lovely.... Two of them even said they loved it, and they all recommended it as a Good Read.
I'm not bragging you understand - just trying to offset the grimness of ELEVEN rejections...