Archive for 2011|Yearly archive page

Writer’s Inspiration

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2011 at 10:58 am

Look here every Saturday for a weekly writing exercise that will get you warmed up and inspired to return to your novel. Who knows, it could turn out to be your next short story or even the next chapter of your novel! When you complete the exercise, share it with us by posting it on our blog as a comment.
This week’s activity:

You are a disgruntled Tooth Fairy. You can’t understand why Santa and even the Easter Bunny get more attention than you. You just visited twins who expected $20 per tooth. Start with: I can’t believe…

Good luck!


This week’s inspiration is taken from the book, The Write Brain Workbook, by Bonnie Neubauer.

Writer’s Inspiration

In Uncategorized on February 12, 2011 at 9:23 pm

Look here every Saturday for a weekly writing exercise that will get you warmed up and inspired to return to your novel. Who knows, it could turn out to be your next short story or even the next chapter of your novel! When you complete the exercise, share it with us by posting it on our blog as a comment.
This week’s activity:

Write a Valentine’s Day letter to the wealthiest person you’ve ever heard of. Butter them up big time, flatter them to your heart’s content, and then ask for something outrageous!

Start with:

Dear ________,
You are, without a doubt, the most…

Good luck!


This week’s inspiration is taken from the book, The Write Brain Workbook, by Bonnie Neubauer.

Writer’s Inspiration

In Uncategorized on February 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Look here every Saturday for a weekly writing exercise that will get you warmed up and inspired to return to your novel.  Who knows, it could turn out to be your next short story or even the next chapter of your novel!  When you complete the exercise, share it with us by posting it on our blog as a comment.

Just head outside to get some inspiration for this week’s exercise:

DON’T use any of these words in your story:  COLD, CHILL, SNOW, ICE, SLEET, FLURRY, WINTER, FREEZING, SHIVER.

Start with: We arrived in the Arctic at noon and immediately ventured out into the 30 feet of blinding white…

Good luck!


This week’s inspiration is taken from the book, The Write Brain Workbook, by Bonnie Neubauer.

Opinions Wanted

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Up until now, I have been trying to offer information and suggestions based on what I have learned thus far about this somewhat taunting task of writing. Lately I have been pursuing agents and publishers. And I thought writing it was daunting! I know I am just frustrated and ranting here, but it’s our blog site and I just need it! Still being somewhat green (dare we say very green) and no doubt naive, I have some questions for our readers who might have a bit more experience. It is not that I haven’t looked for answers, just that the answers are always different. So who to believe? Please wade in and give me your best take on a number of issues. Some of these are tactical questions, others just out of pure frustration.

One. You may consider this a rant. Are there not any agents or publishers who comprehend the value of a good Saturday afternoon read? Must it be a literary work with profound meaning containing the potential to change the way the world turns? I don’t read that kind of stuff. What percentage of the population does? How many books of poetry do you have on your shelf? I have one from grade nine.

Two. I know it’s about making money. I know the established writers have a following so people will buy the stuff with little thought. Have you tried to read some of the “old boys” recent stuff? I’m sorry but some of it is terrible. I can’t read it. Please notice I said “some” in both statements. OK. So on the one hand I have the high brow stuff I don’t want to read, and on the other, the stuff I can’t force myself to read. Is this just me or are there others out there who find the same thing? I really want to know. Maybe I am just kidding myself. Maybe I must expand my field of reading.

Three. I know the publishing world is changing with new technology and we are not exactly sure of where it is going and how fast it is going to get there BUT, is this new demand from so many publishing companies, that we be responsible for everything except physically running off the copies, the new reality? It seems to me that so many want an iron clad book that they don’t have to invest any time or money into, yet they wish to make the profits. I hear how competitive it is out there right now, with the changes and the economy. So is this the new reality?

Four. Considering all of the above, for new unpublished writers, do we accept this reality (if it is indeed reality and not my perception) and start taking offers where we are virtually responsible for every facet of publishing? Is it simply because I have not written the next classic? The next bizarre thriller with some unheard of concept or twist? Is a good page turner just simply not good enough? Even though lots of “average” readers out there might enjoy it?

OK, I’m done. Just frustrated, but I feel better for ranting. Having said all of this, I do realize that the answer is writing that great book. Not a good book, but a great book. The scary thing is the self-doubt that sets in and you question whether you really can write it. Like my momma once said, “We can’t all be brain surgeons.” But for now, I will try to sharpen my scalpel and get back to writing – cause my next one is even better than the last.

Take that publishing world! – Dan

Hallelujah and all that jazz.

In Uncategorized on February 2, 2011 at 9:06 pm

It has happened.  You doubted it (don’t pretend you didn’t).  Hell, even I doubted but it has happened.

I have a date for Valentine’s Day!

Now, I don’t want to be one of the snotty people that I usually hate that flaunt the fact that they will not be alone, crying into an empty tin of Quality Street.  I’m not going to sit here and tell you that I will most likely be receiving roses over a candlelight dinner while I am constantly told how beautiful I am.  No, I wouldn’t do that- it would be cruel.

So who is my sexy, mysterious new boyfriend you ask?  Well, I was sitting down at my desk yesterday when I received the following email.

To: Nflemming@makka.co.uk

From: ggreen@holstersmith.co.uk


It was a pleasure to read your want ad.  If you would like to meet me for a drink tomorrow night, I would love to meet you and see where this goes.


I quickly wrote back.

To: ggreen@holstersmith.co.uk

From: Nflemming@makka.co.uk

Dearest Greg,

It was a pleasure hearing from you.  I would love to have a drink with you.  I know a great place called Comos which has great food and drinks.  Not that I am saying we have to have dinner together- but I am not saying I don’t want to have dinner with you either.  If we both want to eat then we can do that, or if you want to eat alone we can get two tables.  Though, if we are both going to be there and eating we might as well eat together.  I leave it up to you shall I?

Always, Natalie

Okay, so we are going for a drink tomorrow night-  technically he hasn’t said anything about Valentine’s Day, but I feel it is sort of implied.  I mean, I am basically his girlfriend now, right?

*Click here to read more Natalie’s Nook.

Photo Credit:

Photographer: Michal Marcol


Writer’s Inspiration

In Uncategorized on January 29, 2011 at 1:43 pm

Look here every Saturday for a weekly writing exercise that will get you warmed up and inspired to return to your novel.  Who knows, it could turn out to be your next short story or even the next chapter of your novel!  When you complete the exercise, share it with us by posting it on our blog as a comment.

This week’s exercise:  Choices, Choices

Choose one:

a)      I’d like to be able to fly using my own powers

b)      I’d like to be able to make myself invisible

You now possess this super power for the story you are about to write. 

Start with:  It was just a teeny-weeny little lie

This week’s inspiration is taken from the book, The Write Brain Workbook, by Bonnie Neubauer.

Part 2 – The Dark Waters of Critiquing

In Uncategorized on January 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm

All right!  So we are prepared to commit some energy, focus and time to critique Mary’s latest piece of writing.  To do a good critique takes all three.  Skill levels in critiquing, like writing, will vary. All a person can expect of you is that you will examine their work to the best of your ability, but you must bring your best game to the table.

Whether Mary’s piece is complete, such as a short story, or a selection from her novel, will affect how and what you can critique. Reading a submission, in its entirety, allows you to view it in a different light, as opposed to only reading a sampling from a novel.

Is it a first draft or a fifth draft?  Chances are they will want you to focus on story and characters if it is a first draft, and not do a line by line unless it is a draft or two later.

On a first reading I believe we should be reading it like one of our future readers: for pleasure.  If we read it this way, and if we enjoyed the piece, it’s because, on a basic level, they were successful.  The story made sense.  We liked the story, characters and style of writing. We actually got drawn into the story and forgot we were critiquing.  Don’t underestimate the importance of this visceral reaction to their work.  It’s hard to argue with liking something, and a wonderful compliment for them. Let them know that.

On a second read, now we can become more detached.  Let’s do our job with the red pen (ok use a green one to avoid the stigma – but colour does really show up better whether you are doing it on the computer or by hand).

Were there any places where you were confused?

Is the confusion perhaps explained later, but it’s really a little late?

Are some sections – descriptions – actions too drawn out? Are some too short and not fulfilling their purpose?

Is the point of view consistent?  Are changes in POV effective?

Are you losing concentration? Bored?  Is there perhaps a lack of conflict to hold your interest?

How is the pacing? Does it keep you reading? Give you a chance to catch your breath?

Do we care about the characters?  Are they interesting?  Likeable? Unique? Are they consistent in their actions and speech based on their personalities?

Is the dialogue interesting? Varied for characters?  Sound real? Necessary?

The list can go on, but we know it would be impossible to comment on everything.  If they haven’t indicated the kinds of things that they would like you to focus on, then try to judge the stage they are at in their writing and focus on one of two areas where perhaps the weakness is repeated.

In the end we must remember that writing is very personal, very subjective.  It is important that we respect their writing style and the stage of development of their writing. The point of the whole exercise should be educational. Our insights into their work will hopefully shed some light on some issues and give them food for thought. 

Remember, our opinions, even though asked for, are only opinions – even if we know we are right.

Now, to go to our meeting and get some feedback! Yikes!

Happy writing.


BYON (Bring Your Own Needles)

In Uncategorized on January 27, 2011 at 9:04 am

I know, I know, I’m late!  But after you read this I’m sure you will forgive me.  I was sitting at my desk yesterday blogging away but I just couldn’t get inspired.  I kept thinking, Do they really want to hear about my non-matching socks?.  Well, just as I was cursing my boring life Hank spoke and my day was never the same again.

“Natalie, isn’t that your mum?”

“What?”  I look up at Hank.

“Your mum.”  Hank is pointing over to the reception area.  “I think that’s her…”

Oh, God.  Please, no.

I’m afraid to look where Hank is pointing, but unfortunately I don’t have to as I hear the shriek, “Natalie!  You who!” 

I look up as my mother is waving frantically at me as though I can’t see her, though she can only be thirty yards away.  I try to wave back to stop my mother from yelling, but instead she knocks over Claire’s roses that were delivered this morning from her new boyfriend.  I walk over to reception as my mother is trying to help Claire pick up the flowers.  Claire does not look happy, to say the least.

“So sorry about that dear.  Luckily they were almost dead.”  Mum picks up the last rose and looks at it.  “I would have felt just awful if they were fresh.”

Claire takes a quick intake of breath and looks about ready to kill my mother.  She bundles her limp flowers together and storms off.

“Mum, what are you doing here?”  I say.

“I’m here to see you darling.”  My mother is now rearranging the items on Claire’s desk.

“No, I mean what are you doing in London?”

“I was in London for a doctor’s appointment, so I thought I would stop in to see if you would like to get a cup of tea.”

I look up to see Claire coming back around the corner and still looking quite angry.  Before she can see my mum rearranging her desk, I grab mum’s hand and lead her over to my office.  Thankfully, Hank and Rachel seem to have disappeared.

“Why are you coming to the doctor’s in London?  What’s wrong with Dr. Archie?” 

Mum has been going to Dr. Archie for as long as I can remember.  I asked her once if she could marry him so I could have a doctor for a dad; but, unfortunately, he has about ten children with his ultra thin Spanish wife.

“Oh, Ira is fine… I still see him.  I just had to go to this special doctor in London for something.”  Mum waves her hand as if to dismiss the subject and then looks around my office.  “Natalie, this place is a pig sty- don’t you ever tidy it up?”

“It’s mainly Hank’s stuff and he doesn’t like people moving things.” 

Truthfully, it’s mainly my stuff and Hank and Rachel are always telling me I need to sort it out.  Though, the second I throw out that pile of House and Home magazines I just know I will be redecorating something and need them.  “And what kind of something did you have to get checked out?”

“Oh nothing serious.”  My mum has picked up my collection of broken pencils from the filing cabinet.  “You know, if you just sharpened one, you wouldn’t have so many broken at once.”

“It’s alright Mum,” I take the cup with the pencils out of her hand, “I have a system.”

Actually, my system is I lost my sharpener about three months ago, so I have been using the pencils and storing them in the cup for when I find it.  I know it sounds odd but, if I throw them out and then find the sharpener, it’s like throwing money in the bin.

“So, how about it then?”  Mum asks.

“How about what?”

“Tea, darling.  Or coffee- there’s a great little bistro round the corner where they do an excellent java.”  Mum has picked up my copy of Lasso and is flipping through it.

“Java?”  I take the magazine out of her hands.  Oh God, I have to get her out of here before she touches anything else.

“Yes darling, you can have a cappuccino, or an espresso… whatever you like.” 

“How do you know what a cappuccino is?”  I know for a fact Mum only keeps Tetley in the pantry.

“Really darling, this caffeine craze has been around for years.”  She looks at my overflowing garbage and frowns.

“Well, I would love to but I’m a bit snowed under here I’m afraid.”  I pick up my folder I carry and tap it.  “Deadlines and all.”

“Oh, well, alright then…”  Mum picks up her shawl off the chair.  “It’s just… I wanted to run something by you… but if you’re busy…”

My mum is fussing with her shawl now and looking a little panicky. 

What could she possible need to tell me?  I only spoke to her a few days ago and she told me she didn’t have any news-

Oh God. 

She’s been to the doctor.  To a specialist

She’s dying.  My only mother is dying.

“Oh, Mum.  Of course I will have coffee with you.”  I take her hand and raise it to my chest and desperately try and fight off the tears- she will need me to be strong.  “Whatever you’d like. Do you need to sit down?”

“No, I’m fine thanks.”  Mum reaches for her handbag.

“Let me get that for you!”  I take the bag and put it on my shoulder.  “And, here, let’s put this shawl round you.  It’s pretty cold out there.”

I lead my mum out of my office by the hand with my arm wrapped around her other shoulder.  We pass Claire’s desk on the way out and she is still giving my mother a nasty look.  I give her my severest stare in return and lead my mum through the doors.  Honestly, she doesn’t need to put up with that on her last days.

I am trying not to shake from fear of what I am about to hear.  I know my mum is overbearing and can be a lot to handle sometimes- but she’s still my mum.   I feel the tears well in my eyes again, but I remind myself that my mother will need all the strength she can get at a time like this.  And, maybe she went to the specialist and has good news.  It’s a nasty illness, but there’s hope.  A special treatment- probably from India.

My mum leads me to the bistro round the corner from work called Javinis and we pick a quiet table in the back to sit.  After we sit down, Mum takes off her shawl and picks up the menu to look at.

The waiter comes to our table and sets down two napkins.  “Hello ladies, what will it be?”

“Hmm… there’s a lot to choose from here… what are you going to have Natalie?”

“Anything,” I wave my hand, “it doesn’t matter.”

“Well,” the waiter points to the menu, “we have a lot of different lattes to choose from.”

“Yep, that’s great.  I’ll have one of those.”

“Or,” the waiter flips over the menu, “we have a large selection of flavoured teas.”

“Okay, that’s fine.”

“Well, which one would you like?”  Mum asks.

“Anything, I’ll have whatever.”

“Well, you have to pick something love.”

“I’ll have anything. Surprise me,” I tell the waiter.

“Well, I will have the grande, non-fat, light foam, moccachino, gracias.”  Mum hands her menu to the waiter and smiles.

“Okay, so one moccachino and one… surprise?”

“Yep,” I reply, “fab, thanks.”

As the waiter walks away I stare at Mum to try and see what is wrong with her.  Maybe it’s that swine flu- she does look pretty pale.  Or it could be that outbreak from Africa- the one you get from the monkeys… but where would she have been in contact with a monkey?

“Natalie, what are you staring at me like that for?”  Mum asks.

I jump in my seat a little and quickly look down.  I wanted to try and play it cool- I don’t want her to be alarmed that I know.

“Nothing, I was just looking at your hair,” I lie, “I like the new cut.”

“Oh, thank you darling.  Geraldine tried a new technique- it’s where you take the scissors…”

I can’t let her know that I know she’s sick.  I have to be strong.  She’ll tell me when she’s ready.

“Why did you go and see that doctor?” I interrupt.

“What?”  My mother stops and looks at me.

“The doctor that you went to see today, why did you have to see him?”

“Oh that,” Mum waves her hand, “nothing to worry about.”

“Mum,” I reach across the table and place my hand on top of hers, “it’s alright.  You don’t have to be strong for me- let me be strong for you.”

“Natalie, are you feeling alright?” 

Mothers, always more concerned for their children.

“Of course I am,” I squeeze her hand, “I’m worried about how you’re feeling.”

“I’m fine love.” 

Denial… it’s always the first stage.

“Of course you’re fine, were going to beat this together.”  My eyes start tearing up again.  “But you have to be honest with yourself first and let me help you.”

“Natalie, what on earth are you on about?”

“Mum, tell me why you were at the doctor’s today,”  I press.

“Er…”  Mum starts fiddling with her handbag.  “I’d rather not.”

“Mum, I have a right to know.”

“Really, Natalie it’s nothing.”  She looks around the restaurant for a distraction.

“If it’s nothing then why can’t you tell me?”

“Well… the truth is, I am not sure you would approve.” 

At that moment, the waiter comes to the table with our drinks. As he is placing them in front of us my mind begins to work it all out.

She’s doing something illegal.  Some experimental treatment that she could do hard time for if she was caught- and she doesn’t want to tell me in case they try and make me testify at the trial.  Well, they can forget it. If they think I would testify against my ill mother they have another thing coming.

“Mum, we are not leaving this coffee shop until I know what we are dealing with.”  I take a sip of what looks like a cappuccino, but turns out to be the strongest coffee I have ever tasted.  My eyes water as I try to catch my breath in a fit of coughs. 

Once I have regained control I take a deep breath, “I can handle it.”

“Really Natalie, you’re making such a fuss over nothing.  Your Aunty Beryl and I are just trying to make a little money for our holidays, so we thought we would try something new.” 

Something new?  Oh God, please tell me she didn’t sell her body to science.

“And Dot from down the lane made a fortune last year at one of her Tupperware parties, but she’s having another one this year- so inconsiderate that woman.”  Mum takes a sip of her coffee.  “So we decided to have a party of our own, but obviously we couldn’t do Tupperware-”

“Mum what are you talking about?”

“So we decided to have a Botox party instead.”

“A what?”

“A Botox party,” Mum leans forward, “it’s where you inject fat into different areas of your body to… freshen things up a bit.”

“I know what Botox is mother.”

“Well, we heard on Oprah that people can make a fortune having these parties- Beryl and I might even go to Tunisia if we make enough!” 

“So, you are having a Botox party… in the Cotswolds?”  I can’t believe this.  “And you have this doctor going there to do this for you?”

“Oh no dear,” Mum waves her hand, “that’s the best part.  I came down this morning to learn how to do it myself and pick up the… er… fat.”

“Wait- you’re injecting these women yourself?”

“Oh yes, we save quite a bit of money doing it ourselves. And now I can teach Beryl- it’s all on the up and up.  I just had to take a quick course this morning and now I’m certified- would you like to see my card?”  Mum excitedly reaches for her purse. 

“No, that’s alright thanks.”  This is way too much for a Thursday morning. 

I’m not sure what actually bothers me more; the fact my mother is injecting sixty year old women with someone’s leftover fat, or the fact I live in London, probably the trendiest place in England, and I have never been invited to a bloody Botox party.

**To read more of Natalie’s adventures please click here.

Photo: Injection Needle

Photographer: jscreationzs


Writer’s Inspirations

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2011 at 1:14 pm

A weekly writing exercise that will get you warmed up and inspired to return to your novel. Who knows, it could turn out to be your next short story or even the next chapter of your novel! When you complete the exercise, share it with us by posting it on our blog as a comment.
This week’s exercise:
One Sill A Bull: This is a great activity because it really makes you dig for words. Each word in this piece must be ONE SILL A BULL (one syllable). Start with: The bull…
Good Luck!
This week’s inspiration is taken from the book, The Write Brain Workbook, by Bonnie Neubauer.

Upon This Rock I Will Build My House

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2011 at 10:06 am

One morning not too long ago, when I was feeling particularly naive, I told my husband, “I am going to build Ava a beautiful wooden doll house for Christmas.” 

My husband had his usual reaction, “Does she need a wooden doll house?”

And like I said to the wii remote in the shape of Elmo the day before, “Of course she needs it!  She will have it forever and always take care of it!”  So, I got in the car and set out to get the supplies for the most beautiful dollhouse.

Well, three hundred dollars later (JUST FOR SUPPLIES!) I sat down to make my daughter a Christmas present.  The lady in the shop told me it would take forty hours to make.  It took me two hundred.  But, as you can see from the picture above, it is beautiful.  And it was also a very useful experience.  As I was painstakingly sanding, painting and assembling every piece of siding together (don’t even get me started on the balcony…) I was thinking to myself (as you do when you have been trapped in the same room every night trying to prove your husband wrong) that building a dollhouse is not unlike writing your novel.  How you say?  Well, let me tell you…

Getting Your Pieces in Order

When I opened the box and looked at the pile of wood and the instruction manual (with no pictures and the dimensions as the only description of the pieces!) I had to sit down and figure out what was going on before I started.  Like writing a novel, you should always sit down and think about what you want to accomplish before you start.  Now, I know some people are able to just sit at the computer without any idea where they are going, but I would argue that you still need to have a general idea of what the story is about.  You need to know who your character is and you need to know what you want the conflict in the story to be.  Yes, you can start writing with a vague notion of what is going to happen, but I promise you that the more you know about your character’s background (their past, their wants, their needs, their motivations) it will save you time on your editing and it is will also help with writer’s block.  Of course you don’t need to write a detailed outline of your character and where you want the story to go, but as I found out with the dollhouse, the better described your instructions are from the offset the easier it is for you in the process.

The Foundation

This part is also involved with your planning from the offset.  Once you are done your novel and you begin the query process there is going to be one question on everyone’s tongue and no, unfortunately it is not, “How do I sign you as my client?”, but rather, “So, what is your story about?”.  And sometimes (alright, more often than not) we get through our speech about our novel and when we are out of breath and smiling from remembering our brilliant work they utter the words that all authors dread, “And?  Is that all that happens?  What makes your book different from the book on the exact same subject I received yesterday?”

When constructing my daughter’s house I spent more time on the foundation then was perhaps necessary just to get the house constructed, but I knew that if this was wrong the whole house would be wrong.  You spend a lot of time on your manuscript, mine is like my second child.  Make sure that when you start writing you know what you’re writing, that it is enough to sustain the reader’s interest, and that the conflict is compelling enough to push the story and characters forward. 

The Construction Has Started

I’ll admit that when I started I was an idealist.  I remember walking in with the huge box in my arms and when my husband raised his eyebrows I smiled and asked, “How hard can it possibly be?”

Apparently extremely difficult.

When  raising the walls and carefully adding every piece of siding I was thorough.  I knew some of this work would never be appreciated and that in the end it would probably look the same as the person who had spent forty hours putting it together, but I didn’t care.  I needed to take that long.  When you are writing your manuscript you might be writing in back story that people will never see, witty comments that you spent hours thinking of that no one will ever laugh at.  My manuscript was complete at 75,000 words but a wonderful editor I am working with wanted me to trim it down to 55,000.  EEK! I know.  And as I am trimming out word after word I keep thinking that all my hard work and the time it took me to write those words are lost.  But are they?  After finishing with the axe, I have read back through my manuscript before resubmitting it to my editor and I am noticing that the sentence makes sense without the four lines of back story before it.  Taking out that character has put a greater focus on my heroine and it is her story- she deserves our sole attention.  So yes, perhaps no one will read every word you have written, but in my case I have learned that the time it took to write those words was not wasted. 

The Final Touches

The paint, installation of the windows, staining and installing (individually might I add!) 864 roof shingles is the hard part.  It is the finicky little work that hurts your eyes and just makes you think you are never going to finish.  I would look at the door I just installed and squint my eyes because it just didn’t look straight.  The level said it was straight but my eyes were telling me something else.  My husband came down and said it was straight but his eyes were wrong as well.  Though, he did point out one of the windows was upside down and I had to throw him out the room in denial (then secretly fix it when he was safely upstairs).

When your manuscript is done and you are taking the red pen to your beloved piece of art it can be daunting.  Sometimes you need to take a break, for a week, a month, even a year sometimes to get perspective.  You have to ask others to help you gain perspective and sometimes they tell you things you don’t want to hear.  Listen to them.  If it hurts your feelings and you just can’t face it right then and there, then write it down.  When some time has passed you will want to look it over and evaluate it.  Sometimes they will be wrong, but more often than not they will be right and you can make your changes accordingly.  Remember, you asked them to look at your manuscript for a reason- you value their opinion.

The Finished Product

When Christmas morning came and I brought my  Ava’s beautiful dollhouse upstairs I had the biggest smile on my face.  I loved it, I had worked hard for it, and I was so proud to give it to her.  When my nearly two-year-old came down the stairs she gasped, opened her eyes wide and pointed at the house I had built for her.  I smiled from ear to ear as she squealed and ran to the house, but as she got closer she walked right around it and picked up the little ducky she had left on the table the night before and started kissing and hugging it.

To say I was crushed would have been an understatement.  Later my husband graciously showed her the dollhouse more carefully and she did show some interest but the duck had won the day.

As we clutch our edited, polished manuscript in our arms and gently hand it over to agents/publishers with stars and money signs in our eyes, we are crushed when the rejections roll in.  Trust me, I know, 146 rejections are a lot on someone’s self-esteem.  But the truth is, perhaps they are not ready yet.  Perhaps we are not ready yet.  Perhaps our work just isn’t ready yet.

The editor I am working with right now has requested changes and I am working on them just as hard as I worked on that dollhouse.  A big name publishing house is giving me a chance when all others said no.  Did the rejections hurt?  Absolutely.  But, two years later I am presented with the opportunity of a life time.

I know my daughter will grow to love that dollhouse and one day perhaps she will even give it to her daughter.  I know now that she was too young to receive it but I was too impatient to wait.  I had put my heart and soul into it and I wanted her to notice, I wanted her to be ‘wowed’. 

So, after all your hard work is done and you are ready to share your labour of love with everyone, you might be in for the hardest part of the whole journey- waiting.  It will be hard, you will question whether it was worth it or not, but please if you take nothing else from my experience remember this- it is.

-Emily Harper

*I must send out a big thank you to my sister-in-law Laura.  Without your hard work and calming presence, Ava’s beautiful dollhouse would still be a work in progress.

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