Currently I have received nine rejections out of thirty submissions. Among my most recent rejections from literary agents I take inspiration in this one line:
"Also remember that sometimes, writers endure long terms of rejection before they find the winning combination for themselves. They refused to give up, as I hope you will continue to do."
|Sketch in my writer's notebook as I kicked around the idea.|
That agent could have written anything, even just the bare minimum: "Sorry, this isn't right for us."
Since the rejections have been trickling in, I have been mulling over my manuscript. The addition of a character and a new subplot has moved from story from purely historical fiction to a combination of historical fiction and science fiction. Both genres have begun to blur in my text.
A writer of YA literature has a very small window of time to grab and keep an adolescent's attention, so a writer needs to get to it immediately.
When I consider why my story was slotted for the YA market in the first place, it is because I wanted to share the deeply human experience of my ancestors with today's generation of young readers.
And more that, times were hard, they rode over on a steamship, and stood in a lot of lines in frumpy clothes. I didn't want to write a history book, but I wanted to write something that shows adolescents that history hides some of the greatest stories never written. The stories of what people endured in a fixed point in history. The stories of people who never gave up no matter what life threw at them.
The literary agent's encouraging line reminded me of that point.
For a writer must endure and never give up because he/she has an unwritten contract with a reader, and an unbreakable bond with his/her heritage.