IGNORE ME – Or, a little writerly advice…

I’m cringing as I begin to type this, but it’s been on my mind, so screw it.

Let me preface – I’m not the biggest fan of writing advice or anecdotes. Maybe I’m a natural cynic or just an asshole (my money’s on the latter) but the idea that there’s a one-size-fits-all method to writing irks me. Not everything works the same for any of us aside from the fundamentals—which even then are constantly challenged by poets or other literary ninjas (see Mark Z. Danielewsky).

So anyway, what the hell is my point? Oh yeah, ON REJECTION.

Awful word. You can see the stink lines coming off of it a mile away.

Still, as writers that’s our business: rejection.

We write and get rejected by editors, publishers, readers, and other writers. That’s the constant. That’s what makes acceptance a narcotic—it’s scarcity.

It’s why so many gifted writers can disappear before they make their presence known; either scared off or embittered to the point they quit. And who can blame them? Rejection isn’t easy to handle and hell, the easiest way to stop it is to no longer invite it over for some Netflix and chill (I do that right?).

So why continue?

That’s not what this rant is about. Nope, what this rant is about is making that rejection work for you, because it can and it WILL.

Nobody rejects a piece out of spite (for the most part). The business of writing is only personal when we’re pouring it all out on the page, after that, it’s all business. Does the person reading your piece feel that it’s marketable, worth taking a risk on, TRANSCENDENT OF THE GENRE? Maybe, often no, nearly never yes. Through it all, though, if you’re waiting on a professional to provide that feedback and it’s pear-shaped, there’s no hard feelings. That means, you don’t take it as rejection, you take it as an opportunity (if you can glean the context from it, if not, toss that shit in the fire where it belongs).

Rejection means something didn’t quite click. While yes, all it takes is a single acceptance, multiple rejections should also be a sign that we need to further delve into the piece or pieces in question. Not that we’re doing anything wrong, but maybe there’s a different way to accomplish what we want. I’ve found that thinking that way has not only softened the blow from rejections, but has helped my work. Taking the time to really examine what it is about my writing, themes, narratives, characters, that could turn someone off makes me a little more thoughtful. Will I compromise my WHOLE vision? Fuck no, but I can certainly finesse pieces that will help my reader compromise their stance.

So make of this what you will. If you’re feeling the sting of rejection, rethink how you internalize that feedback and try a different approach. Do it your way, not mine – or do it my way. Whatever works, man.

I’m just trying to write.

Be easy,

Angel

Baby’s first Bouchercon

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I was pretty sure we were gonna die.

I’d been to LCC in Portland earlier in the year, but the face I’m making above is pretty much the steady-state of where my brain was at when I landed in Raleigh, NC for Bouchercon 2015.

Now before I go in, Joe Clifford got all mushy about this insanity and pretty much nailed every damn thing I could say about what an incredible experience this was at his blog HERE make with the clicky and get all misty-eyed.

So instead of stealing Joe’s words (I’ll save that for my next novel), here’s a quick and dirty list of highlights.

  • Bike Sex
  • The incredible kindness and INSANE local knowledge of Eryk Pruitt. The man drove me to one of the best meals I’ve ever had – you rock, sir.
  • Getting to meet Christa Faust – fucking aces getting to hang out with someone so New York to the god damn bone. I think she may be my spirit animal.
  • Selling a book as I walked down a hallway in the Marriot. HELL FUCKING YES.
  • Reading in an abandoned storefront atrium as the wind whipped dead leaves at my feet and people across the street stared. Big thanks to Steve W. Lauden for asking to record the story. You folks will be hearing/reading it soon.
  • Dumping ten copies of The Fury of Blacky Jaguar and signing 9 of them at random junctures as I wandered my hotel. That was fucking awesome.
  • Keeping my cool and not gushing like a fanboy when I met Steve Weddle. Don’t tell him I said this, but Country Hardball is probably one of my favorite novels of the decade. No fucking joke. The man is one of the finest writers I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
  • The food. OH MY GOD, THE FOOD.
  • Explaining what a cobbler is to a poor boy from the UK (contrary to Brit belief, it is NOT a man who fixes shoes).
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Before my life got changed by fried okra, a plate of BBQ, and a ludicrous peanut butter pie.

  • Finally getting to be in a single place with my Shotgun Honey/One Eye Press peoples. They are lovely. Ron Earl: stay healthy or we’ll kill yah.
Ron decided to catch an EMT for...reasons. But he made a return.

Ron decided to catch an EMT for…reasons, so he wasn’t in this pic. But he made a return.

  • Getting asked to share insight into live-reading to a first time reader. It was a weird feeling – might have been I was drunk at that point.
  • Once again forgetting that I have met Susanna Calkins…a few times. I’M SORRY! PLEASE DON’T HATE ME.
  • Seeing kick ass peoples; Chris and Kat Holm, Jay Stringer, Johnny Shaw, Rob Hart, Chris Irvin, Jen Conley, Scott Adlerberg, J David Osborne, Eric Campbell, Chantelle Aimee Osman, Nik Korpon, Mike McRary, Joe Clifford, Tom Pitts, Ro Cuzon, Brian Panowich, Holly West, Jennifer Hillier, Travis Richardson, Jedidiah Ayres, Hilary Davidson, Pam Stack…all the people I’m leaving out – you all rocked!

So needless to say – I’ll be back next year. Hopefully with more to shill.

Be easy,

Angel