09 April 2012

Late Sunday… Easter Sunday

by Jan Grape

Jan Grape

Late Sunday...Easter Sunday.

Okay, no little kids to worry about Easter bunnies but since my grown-up grandson, Cason lives here with me, I broke down and got an empty Easter basket and filled it with Chocolate Bunnies and Candy. Just couldn't resist.

Mostly today was like most any other Sunday. Read the paper, watch bowling on TV and read greetings and jokes that family and friends sent. One of the funniest was from a friend and it was about Bob Hope reaching heaven's gate and St. Peter telling him to come on in that many friends were waiting for him. It quoted several Hope jokes and for some reason, one that tickled me was his comment about not ever receiving an Oscar. He was hosting the event and said, welcome to the Oscars or "Passover" as we all it at our house.

That has absolutely nothing to do with mysteries or writing or even blogging, it was just a funny line that caught my attention. Funny lines. They say that comedy is hard to write. And I suppose it really is. What I may think is funny...you might not even crack a smile over. And a belly laugh to you may not seem a laughing matter to me.

That's honestly how all writing is in many ways. We pour our thoughts out, write a good story, build suspense, dynamic characters and send it out to some jaded agent or editor only to be rejected after waiting for six months to hear back. That's just the name of the game. Wait, and wait and wait. Then someone says no thanks. What do you do?

All you can do, is brush the tears away and send it out to the next person on your list. Because, class, all writing is subjective. No matter how hard you try there is no magic way to write a story or a book that someone will pay money to publish.

However, if you are lucky enough to find the right person who likes your work, you are in a small class by yourself. Even the best-selling authors still get rejected. Of course, most of us know already that if you are a best-selling author you won't get rejected very often. Whereas we mid-list writers are still struggling and we get dealt the REJECTION hand fairly often.

Sometimes the hardest thing to understand is how some writers ever got published in the first place. I've run across a few in my years of reading, especially when we had our mystery bookstore. There's no way to explain some successes. A writer friend one explained it this way. It's like there's this giant claw hand...like in those arcades...the claw hand will grind down and pick up a toy and sometimes get tantalizing close but the hand then opens and drops the toy. However, once in a great one thousand, million times the hand will pluck a toy and drop it through the slot. Wow, Bam, Whoo-hoo...a publisher will grab a book, promote the heck out of it and the author is on the way to NY Times Best-Seller status.

Never forget for everyone of those lucky picks there's the remainder of us. Margaret Mitchell was rejected over 39 times and she only wrote one book. Harper Lee only wrote one book...I have no idea if she was rejected or how many time, but I imagine she was. Eventually they were published. They kept on, learning and working and sending their work out and finally found some wonderful editor who liked their book and published it. I'll bet neither of their editors ever had any idea how timeless or how classic their book would be.

So my message on this late Sunday evening is: keep on trucking, kids. We may not ever make the best-sellers list, but we can continue writing and if we get published we've joined an elite group. And that class is what it's all about.


  1. Jan, I think you pretty well covered the subject. You can write a good story, but it has to get to the right editor at the right time in their publishing life, and when they have the right space for it at a time when they don't have similar good pieces to consider in the same slush pile. Sometimes networking makes the difference.

  2. Amen. But keep trying. I got one story published 20 years after I wrote it... Amazing.


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>