Does Every Story We Write Deserve to be Published?

I’m not talking about those early manuscripts, the practice stories we wrote while learning the craft of writing. Those with the giant plot holes. I’m thinking about the stories we’ve written after being published.

MP900439466[1]I wrestled with this thought recently. I’d submitted a romantic suspense to my editor. The story had started out as my first contemporary romance, meaning I was writing a love story with no guns, murder, things getting blown up, car chases, and well heck, where’s the fun in that?

Anyway, I got to about 1/3rd of the way in and was wracking my brain for something to add interest to the unfolding story. What I did not realize at that point was if I’d delved deeper into the emotional aspects of my hero and heroine I would have had the required crunchiness the story needed. Instead, along came a sinister guy and he muscled his way in. It was too easy. I didn’t tell him to wait his turn. Oh, no. I allowed him in, and then I went back and foreshadowed. I liked him. Nasty as he was, I was intrigued by him.

Needless to say, I submitted the manuscript, after having written a contemporary that relied on emotion and not shoot-em-ups, and followed that with my current story, another contemporary romance. I was finally getting the hang of what I needed to write for that sub genre. I do remember, as I was about to hit send on the suspense, there was a tiny voice asking me if the book made sense. I added a disclaimer.

A month later, I got an email from my new editor: I’ve just started reading your manuscript. I’m a bit confused about your antagonist. Can you clarify a couple of things? I need to ensure the suspense will be strong enough that the head of the line will see it as a good fit. Convince me.

I wrote back: Ha ha. Seriously, I won’t be heartbroken if you pass on this one. He’s a sociopath, a wealthy man, a stalker, and he has problems with impulse control. Yeah, he’s weird. My romantic suspense books always start out slow, but once they get going they build fast. They aren’t thrillers, and I’d say they’re more of a cross between a mystery and suspense.

I’m seriously quite okay if her decision is to pass on this one. However, maybe once she finishes the read she’ll have ideas on how to redeem the story…we shall see.

Looking back on the writing experience, it wasn’t a wasted effort, because in some strange way it helped me to write a better first contemporary romance.

And that story, Corsica Gate, has a release date of January 28, 2015.perf5.000x8.000.indd

My editor, the same one I sent the suspense to, said due to the feelings she had while working on CG it stimulated her to book a trip to Italy for next year. Now that’s a compliment!

So, you win some, you lose some. What do you think?

For you multi-published authors out there, have all of your manuscripts been accepted, or do you get offered a contract on an outline? Do your outlines get rejected? If you write in several subgenres of romance do you have trouble switching hats? Talk to me.

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13 Responses to Does Every Story We Write Deserve to be Published?

  1. Liz Flaherty says:

    I sold my last book on proposal (my God, was I thrilled!) and hoped to be able to do it again, but it hasn’t worked out that way so far. While waiting to hear, I’ve finished the first book in the series and am stumbling into the second–and thinking, If they don’t buy this, what in the hell do I do then?

    I always have misgivings when I submit, because the flaws of the story choose that time to jump up and say, You should have done it this way, stupid.

    I’ll be interested in hearing what the editor says, Roben.

  2. robena grant says:

    Hi, Liz. Thanks for your comments. I’ve never had a book bought on proposal. That is a future dream. : )
    Anyway, I already had this post scheduled and didn’t write an addendum, but on Friday night I got an email that I needed to make a couple of small changes, resubmit, and it would go to contract. I always knew there was something not quite right with this story, but, here is the interesting thing all of the readers liked the story and the conflict, but they wanted the hero stronger (not the male antagonist, he was fine) and after reading the ms. again I could see what they meant. The heroine is the hero’s kryptonite and that made him weak. He needs to toughen up. Ha ha.

  3. Dee J. says:

    I’ve never sold on proposal only. Sometimes I wonder if I ever will. Haha. I actually dove into another genre completely and switching hats has been interesting. Not necessarily fun, but it’s keeping me on my toes.

  4. robena grant says:

    Hi, DeeJ. Missed seeing you yesterday.
    I know what you mean about switching genre. I’m taking a shot at contemporary (and really think I’ve found my groove) so this one will most likely be my last suspense. Wondering how many of my RS readers will follow me into the land of just romance. ; )

  5. I’ve gotten contracts for Medical romances without anything more than a “I think I’ll write a blank blank blank story”. Had a rejection over one of those, too. When editors push for one aspect of a story to strengthen, don’t ignore it! (my advice to you)
    For the SE line I’ve submitted full proposals – first three chapters of book one with full synopsis and overview, full synopsis for book #2 and synopsis (not necessarily full) for book #3.

  6. robena grant says:

    Hi, Lynne. Missed you too! Yesterday’s meeting was fun.
    Anyway, proposals. It’s hard for me to imagine being contracted from one, but when you’ve written as many books as you have, and for the same line, I’m sure there would be a high trust level that you would deliver the goods.
    Yep. I took my editor’s advice. I’m in rewrite this week. I will maculinize (is that even a word?) my hero. Ha ha.

  7. Marie Miller says:

    Hi Robena,
    Just stopping by to say hi. I always enjoy reading events on your blog. As a newbie I rely on all the information that you, my mentors are sharing. It is a learning journey for me as I gleam all the pertinent info to help me make better choices. Thanks and hope your day is going well.

    • robena grant says:

      That’s fabulous, Marie. I’m glad we can help in some small way. I spent years commenting on other authors blog posts, and learning from them. By the time I got published those authors jumped in and helped me with interviews, posts, etc. Very important from the promotional aspect. I try to mix it up with general stuff and book reviews, so that nobody knows my entire life is about writing. *wink wink*

  8. Sam Beck says:

    Hi Robena,

    I sell on synopsis with Entangled. Not the first version, or the second, mind you. I usually have to tweak it a few times because my editor asks questions like, “Um…so…tell me again, what’s keeping them from being together?” 🙂

    • robena grant says:

      Ha ha. Yeah, I bet that doesn’t happen much, Sam.

      I now send the editor the full ms. and synopsis. If she likes it then that gets sent to three readers who report back to the editor within about a month. Then it’s content edits, resend full ms. then it’s sent to the head of the line for contract.

      If I had to sell by synopsis only I’d be screwed, mine are as dry and stale as week old bread.

    • Sam – I HATE that question. LOL

  9. Wow, Corsica’s Gate, I have to read that one now. Love the story, love “crunchiness.” Love Caters All, from The Wild Press and released today as it happens, is a contemporary romance that took me four complete write throughs and 3 years to pull off. It’s hard to do without the suspense, but I wanted to do it because contemporary romance is to me a lot like literary, not relying on external plot. I really knew when it was not and finally was ready to submit. (The one that flew involved a lot of brainstorming with critique partners and my husband.)

    • robena grant says:

      I agree, Nicci, contemporary romance is the closest in the romance genre to literary. You did an amazing job with Love Caters All. And you did it within the word count of a novella which I think is awesome.
      Congratulations on release day!