Writer’s Desk: Try, Try, and Try Again

Rejection letters are the worst. Even the ones that do not seem particularly cruel or critical. A rejection letter that does not even bother to specify what was so terrible about your writing is somehow even more cutting than a line-by-line critique.

This is all part of writing, though. Even Judy Blume has her rejection letter stories:

For two years I received nothing but rejections. One magazine, Highlights for Children, sent a form letter with a list of possible reasons for rejection. “Does not win in competition with others,” was always checked off on mine. I still can’t look at a copy of Highlights without wincing…

But does the author of Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret? and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t have any unique advice about how to move past rejection? Well, yes and no:

Don’t let anyone discourage you! Yes, rejection and criticism hurt. Get used to it. Even when you’re published you’ll have to contend with less than glowing reviews. There is no writer who hasn’t suffered…

Finish your work. Send it off with confidence and good cheer.

But get a helmet.

Readers’ Corner: Hard Case Crime

joyland1There aren’t a lot of publishers around these days who do a good job of specializing in one particular type of book. Hard Case Crime is a welcome exception to that rule, churning out quality classic oldies and brand new pulp fiction since the early 2000s. Plus, they’re affordable and come with evocatively painted throwback covers.

My article on Hard Case Crime ran on the Virginia Quarterly Review‘s blog; here’s part of it:

Stephen King helped Hard Case get much of its early publicity back in 2005, when it published his throwback crime novel The Colorado Kid. King’s second book with the press is Joyland. The setup is almost more Judy Blume than Spillane. Naïve college kid Devin Jones is a self-described “twenty-one-year-old virgin with literary aspirations” stuck in a miserably unreciprocated love story: “The heartbreaker was Wendy Keegan, and she didn’t deserve me.” Finally kicked to the curb, Jones heads south to work at a North Carolina amusement park for a summer. Needless to say, he learns about much more than how to heal his broken heart…