Monday, January 30, 2012

Fifty More Feet

I met Peter over at AQC the first month I became a member. He has a really cool story. We were participating in posting and critiquing each other’s chapters. He sent me the first five of his book. I gave him feedback, and he liked the feedback. He has given me ideas for my own work.  So he has become a great beta reader and crit partner. 

We both contribute to the general mayhem in the Speculative Fiction group, and he has been off the radar for about six months.  Then, like a bad penny, he resurfaced last week, just in time to join me in our Blog fest.  I've a post over on his blog, and he has agreed to give a great post on my blog. 

So come over to AQC and check it out and get to know us both a little bit better. 

Here's Peter!

Fifty More Feet

My good friend, beta reader, and critique partner, Dean asked if I would like to guest blog for him, and he would return the favor. Naturally, I said yes. I knew I wouldn't have any worry from anything Dean wanted to post about on my blog, but I'm pretty sure he didn't think about the consequences of allowing a lunatic like myself post on his.

If this doesn't drop his stats into the Abyss... nothing will. That being said. Here we go, kiddies:

A particular problem that comes to every aspiring author is rejection. Hands down this has to be the most troublesome, demeaning, and heartrending situation any writer can face. To be told over and over that the work you poured your heart and soul into isn't good enough. That YOU are not good enough. Small wonder that many newbes become discouraged and hang up the hat before they really try. Smaller wonder that so many writers become more bitter than a New York critic with hemorrhoids.

While it is natural to have feelings of depression after taking such an emotional ass kicking, there are two things that can and do help the new writer to cope with such soul distroying rhetoric. They are perspective, and perseverance.

Perspective wise it is little more than realizing that our work may not be "all that and a bag of chips." However, there is nothing which says we can not improve that. Like any other art form, much of it is learned and you can learn to do anything you put your mind and time into. Set your ego aside, and determine to better yourself. Distance yourself emotionally from the work, and consider other points of view then ask yourself what you can do to fix it.

Perseverance. Now there's a word that has seen some of the most demeaned artists through history to greatness. No one can guarantee success for anyone else, but this little word has made giants out of dwarves.

I'm reminded of a little true story I recently relayed to Dean in an e-mail. Although I do forget the exact details, it is the lesson I remember the most.

An airplane crashed in the Swiss Alps during a violent winter storm. Fortunately there were survivors, but the storm ensured that they would not be rescued for days, perhaps weeks.

Some of the less injured decided to take matters into their own hands and see if they could find a safe way off the mountain side. After much fruitless searching they gave up and returned to the wrecked aircraft to survive as best they could. They suffered through frost bite, sickness and, eventually, cannibalism.

After they were rescued it was discovered that when they turned back, they were fifty feet from a rise. On the other side of that rise stood a ski resort that had been evacuated for the storm. Had they walked fifty more feet they would have had shelter, warmth, food, and first aid supplies for the more severely injured. Just fifty more feet.

Personally, I would hate to discover that everything I desire could have been mine if I had just gone fifty more feet. Wouldn't you?

Who knows how many Kings, Koontz, Meyers, or Rowlings have been lost to obscurity for the lack of going a few extra steps? Hopefully neither you, nor I will be one of them just because of a few rejections.

Thanks for having me over, Dean. (You have no one to blame but yourself.)

Peter can be found as Peter Burton at Agentquery Connect

And of course you can read his own blog and other things of interest to writers at: A Storyteller's Musings on Wordpress.

No comments: