Rejection’s Are Okay

Rejected

Rejections are okay, they are not the end, just a step along the way.

I want to talk about rejection. Specifically about the Query process and query rejections.  I have a finished manuscript also known as a novel or book. I have a cover letter called a query letter that outlines the story and me. I have a synopsis prepared, that is an outline of the entire novel in two pages. 

With all that ready to go, I research Literary Agencies and Literary Agents carefully. I’m searching for one that represents my Genre and subgenre’s, one that I feel would be a good match for my project and me. Then I follow their personal or agency submission guidelines and send them the materials they want to see. (Never send more than what they list)

Then I wait. I check my email like an addict and hit that refresh button as if I can’t function without doing so. Each time I hold my breath, scrunch my eyes and pray to see a Yes, please send more materials.

The dream is to get a yes and then have the agent fall in love with the manuscript and want to represent me.

This is the road to Traditional Publishing. It is a bumpy road full of rejection potholes. 

So what happens when you get a rejection from an agent?

First, the emotional let down is akin to being punched in the gut. They are after all rejecting my heart, soul, and hard work. Oh, and they are rejecting me. It sucks.

Here is a sample of a rejection email I received.

“Thanks so much for sending along the sample pages of Prophecy Ink I’m sorry to say, though, that I just wasn’t as completely drawn in by the material as much as I had hoped.  What with my reservations, I’d better bow out.  Thanks so much for contacting me, though!  I really appreciate it, and wish you the best of luck.”

As it turns out this one was what is called a FORM rejection. A copy-and-paste response. While we hope and pray for some feedback from rejection, the reality is that Agents are busier than we think and this form saves them time. They already spent time reading the queried material they listed to send. I figure the agents are hopeful when they open a query, “Maybe this will be the one,” and when it’s not, I bet they are crushed a little. Now they have to reject someone and their hard work. That has to suck to do. Even if it isn’t personalized the responses are polite and I appreciate that.

If I have an email to respond to, I will thank them again for their time and consideration. I have no idea if Agents want this or not. Despite crushing my hopes and dreams, they are human too, I figure a nice thank you is appropriate.

Side note: some writers get aggressive at this point. They can become belligerent, rude and insulting to agents that say no. Don’t do this. It doesn’t make you right, better or even a good human. That and agents tend to talk and know each other. Just be nice. Patience is required for Traditional Publishing.

Now I have rejection after rejection coming in. Most are form, and some have a little personal note. 

All rejections are hard to take, however, all rejections are a step forward. The advice or message in the rejection can sometimes be helpful. Take this for example:

“After reading your first page, I’m sorry this manuscript is not a good fit for me.” and “I read the first chapter and will pass on this project.”  

These both pointed to a potential problem. I paused queries and took a hard look. Did some digging and research and eventually found some other agents talking about story openings that will get an instant “No” or “Pass.” Huh. No scenes where the Main Character is dreaming, waking up, walking around doing mundane chores… the list went on. I’ll get into that another time. 

Well crap. My story hinged on the premise that Moira wakes up with a tattoo she doesn’t recall getting. Double crap. The chapter was in need of renewal, a renovation of sorts. So I rewrote the first chapter to have her already awake. Is that enough? Time will tell. If I need to rewrite a different angle, I will. Refusing to bend, adjust or change my work will not help me become published. Some would say it’s a “Pushover” or “foolish” thing to change to fit a standard. It’s not. The entire point is to get by a book published and if agents and publishers turn down something for a specific reason and I’ve used that “Something” you better believe I’m going to change it. It would be like walking into the office wearing a bikini. Sure it looks good, and it’s technically clothing, but if they say “You need to change the clothes to work here” You’re likely going to change into more appropriate clothing. Changing the opening isn’t compromising the entire story or me. 

Anyone pursuing traditional publishing will receive rejections. A lot of them. Sure there are the magic few that got signed right away. There are also lottery winners who’ve wone millions. Not many, but it can happen. I’m not holding my breath on luck. I will keep pushing, keep querying and keep trying until I find an agent who wants to work with my manuscript and me. 

My advice about Rejections. 

Rejections are Okay. Get them, get over them, and keep on going. Don’t let rejections deter you or get in the way. Learn from them if you can and know that eventually when you get a YES, all the rejections, hard work, and time will make that yes, sweeter.

-Sheryl

Don’t forget to check out, share and follow the new daily prompt I host. A new word every day!
Your Daily click

https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/your-daily-word-prompt-Renewal-august-1st-2018/

 

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Spring Editing Is In The Air

Spring is in the air and the birds have started chirping and singing. It’s a busy time of year. I eagerly await my tulips and daffodils. I discovered some plants that should have died over the winter, are still alive. I’m shocked and excited. Like hope for obtaining a literary agent, they stuck out the cold and brutal winter of rejections and survived.

My most recent query quest is almost at an end. There are only a handful left of queries to expire. I’ve begun work on the new revision of chapter one and I’m hoping to have it done soon. I’ll begin again with the queries as I continue with my new book.

The new book is coming along very well. I’m drawn in and working hard on the arcs and mini arcs. I know this one will need a lot of revision and revising once I’ve got the bones put together. But that is a long way away. For now it’s all about getting the story done and developing the characters and their interactions.

As I read blogs and other stories I see styles that I like and incorporate them into my writing. Learning as we go is key. It’s important to not only improve our own technique but to fine tune our own unique styles. I know my voicing is distinctly mine, because I wrote it and did not attempt to copy or mimic any other writer specifically. I wrote how I would want to read the story. This I think is key. To be true to myself.

While I am divided with projects at the moment, I’m loving the challenge and excitement a new story brings. I must be prudent with both stories and how I proceed. They are both very different I don’t want to mix character styles when editing and writing. With the thrill of a new season starting, I feel the energy of a new chapter of my adventure beginning.

So it’s time to get to work and do some spring editing on BiaAtlas’s first chapter and get it back out there with a fresh new feel.

My advice about writing.
Keep writing what you love and know. Write what you want to read, because if you do, someone else is bound to love it too.

PS the tulips in my image today are what I’m waiting for in my garden. That picture was taken two springs ago.

-Sheryl

Other posts that are fun

It’s funny you said that…

Mood swings

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

 Prudent

Rejected

Rejected again and again and again.  I’m almost at the end of my latest round of queries and alas all rejections.

Being rejected is such a personal thing. It goes right to your soul and chips away instilling doubt and depressive emotions. That’s natural. Nobody likes to be told no or they’re not good enough. However in this industry it’s sadly common to be rejected and struggle to get noticed.

I queried 125 agents on the last go.

41 sent rejection emails. All of them but one was a cookie cutter generic cut and paste insult to my effort.

45 have done nothing whatsoever.

5 are in limbo and still waiting to expire.

Within that 125

42 of them responded with an auto responded to let me know they got the query.

34 of them listed an expiry date and let it expire without any formal rejection. This is the agents way of not bothering at all. There is no way to know if they even read the query letter.

Each agency have their set of rules for querying and within in them each agent has their own requests/requirements/rules.  Basically it is an effort to apply to each agent. When I get nothing or the form rejection it’s a bit insulting and unfair. IMO.

I’m in the process of polishing my new first chapter rewrite and once that’s done and all the queries have expired I plan to try again. Many now famous authors took years to get published so expecting to land a deal right away would be setting myself up for disappointment.

The truth is that literary agents are busy, too busy. Even if they say they are open to queries I’ve found many of them say they are not in their rejection letter. They all say, in one way or another, “not a good fit for me” or “I don’t represent your genre”  All if it’s funny since they specifically say what they are looking for. And yes many of them have ‘assistants’ that preview the query for them and “reject” on their behalf. So I’m not even getting to the actual mystical freaking unicorn agents.

Regardless I’ll keep trying. Giving up isn’t an option and someday BiaAtlas will be published. Since my last round of queries I’ve learned enough to know how to proceed this third time. It’s a lot of work but I know it will be worth it. Some day I know my query will make it past the slush pile and actually read. One of these days I’ll open an email with an acceptance… a request for more information. *Sighs wistfully…*

While all this is going on in the background I’ve started a new book series and have been having some struggles with it that I’ll probably blog about later. For now I head out to work, where I’ll run through plot ideas for my new book as I wait for customers to come in.

My advice about rejection and agents.
They do what they do and well. They are worth the effort getting to. Have a lovely day everyone and remember, giving up is like sending out a “form” rejection letter. You deserve better.

-Sheryl

Other related posts (Judging by this rejection is a hot topic of mine)

Tricky Little Non-Rejection

Keeping Track

The many faces of Rejection

Rejecting the rejected

The rejection letter

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved

Acceptance

Tricky Little Non-Rejection

I opened my email this evening to see the mini caption “Hello Sheryl, great news for you and your manuscript.”  Heart leaped to my throat and I opened it… to find a freaking advertisement for a submission review service.  For only $29.99 they will… UGH!!  That tricky little non-rejection was worse than the real thing.

I wonder how many people think gee, for thirty bucks I can have my submission reviewed. It’s tempting I wont lie, but it’s also risky. I look at it this way, I will try on my own with all the effort I’ve put into my editing, revision and query submissions. If by the end of my list I’m sitting at the bottom with nothing but no’s, then I’ll look at reaching out to find services to assist. In all seriousness something tells me that thirty bucks wont get me much in the way of a quality revision… That something is the research I’ve done to see what these services generally cost from professionals and it’s a whole lot more than even three hundred let alone thirty.

Needless to say it was fun to think someone was interested, but alas it was a false alarm. One day, I know that one day I’ll open my email and see that glorious positive response from an agent and it wont be someone looking to cash in on potentially desperate writers hoping to make it big while swimming through the sea of no-thank-you.

I continue to research my options, it takes time to figure out what to do next and frankly rushing is never a good idea.

My advice about false alarms.
Don’t let them get you down, no matter how excited you get before the let down. Think of them instead as a lukewarm practice for the real thing. 

-Sheryl

Other posts sort of like this one.

The rejection letter

Rejecting the rejected

The many faces of Rejection

Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved
Lukewarm
Seriousness

The many faces of Rejection

I hunkered down and put out over 100 agent queries. The odds are I will get a lot of rejection with that much exposure. All it takes is one yes and even if I get 100 rejections I’ll keep trying.

What is interesting about being rejected by Literary agents is the way they do it.

For the majority it’s  a standard form email. A cut and paste that is the same for every rejection they send. Sure it sort of sounds personal because they assure me they read and considered my work seriously.  There’s no way to know for sure one way or the other. I’ve even gotten “Dear author”. This is interesting because the general rule is to not blanket submit, to personalize each submission to the agent you’re querying.

Some, much fewer than most will send a short blurb to tell me no.  The shortest being only three words.  “We’ll pass thanks.” to a nice explanation of why they didn’t like my writing or story. A stab to the heart, but at least I know they read it.

Then there are the no shows. The agents that post an expiry. If after *X* weeks you don’t hear from me consider that a no. The true mystery. Did they read it at all?  Maybe.

Agents are busy, very busy with submissions and queries. I’ve been told over and over to just keep positive and understand that they have something called a slush pile. Where some queries never make it out of and are never even touched because they are overworked.

Rejection letters are like little passive aggressive slaps to the ego. They sound so polite, so nice and even complementary. They often have words of encouragement all the while telling you you’re not good enough for them, but maybe someone else… It’s kind of funny in a weird way. Like they take some positive encouragement, wrap it around the negative message then dip it in a bath of false positivity before shoving it my way.

Here’s and example of a somewhat personal “you suck” letter.

Dear Sheryl –

Thank you for thinking of me in your search for representation. I appreciate you sharing your work with me. However, after taking a closer look I don’t feel that this project is a good fit for my list, so I’m going to have to pass.

Please keep in mind that this is a very subjective business, and mine is only one opinion.

Best Wishes,
~M

Here is an example of one that is a complete cut and paste letter:

Dear Author:

 Thank you for allowing me to consider your work. Unfortunately, this particular project is just not right for me.

 I wish you all the best in your literary endeavors.

 Sincerely,
C

Here’s an example of a cut and paste that has a flair of ‘personal’ to it:

Dear Author,

Thanks so much for letting us take a look at your materials, and please forgive me for responding with a formletter.  The volume of submissions we receive, however, makes it impossible to correspond with everyone personally.

Unfortunately, the project you describe does not suit our list at this time.  We wish you the best of luck in finding an agent and publisher for your work, and we thank you, once again, for letting us consider your materials.

Sincerely,
D

And last but not least the fancy one that sounds personalized but is not likely: (Notice the lack of any address, no dear…) Oh and they are too busy…

Thanks for your interest in our agency.  Unfortunately you’ve caught me at a time when the demands of my current clients leave me with very little time to devote to exploring new talent and unfortunately in this case I have to pass on the opportunity to pursue this.  I am being extremely picky so please seek many opinions since my decision may have little to do with the salability of your work.

Sincerely,
R

With many of the responses I can see that even if an agent is listed as open, they may not be. I’ve had a few letters say they are too busy to take on more projects. Or perhaps they just aren’t a fit for my work. That makes sense, not everyone likes every style of writing. The bottom line is this process will either make or break me as a writer. I’ll either take it personally and run for the hills or I’ll keep slogging on and pushing forward through the stacks of no’s until I find that glorious endangered species of a yes.

I think I’ll take the hard road, and keep searching for the yes for as long as I have to.

My advice about being rejected over and over.
It’s a numbers game that requires persistence and the toughening of skin. It’s by no means easy to be pummeled with so many no’s daily. i think a line from one of my favorite movie(Galaxy Quest) is in order here.  “Never give up, never surrender!”

-Sheryl

Other rejection posts

The rejection letter

Rejecting the rejected

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved

Overworked
Exposure

Squeaky Clean

Writing people is a complicated undertaking. Writing their interactions can be daunting… or oodles of fun if you want it to be. I love conversations that test the limits of a character. That broach the outer regions of their comfort zones. Yes they have to have them. I create each character as completely as I can flaws, quirks, mannerisms and all.

When I read a story and the protagonist and their love interest are too in tune, too perfect and ooy-gooy lovey-dovey constantly it’s gross. Nobody is that perfect, nobody. People have limits to what they will tolerate. Sure when you fall in love those things are often overlooked or tolerated, but they wear off eventually. The little annoying things start to annoy. Conversations should be lively and emotional. Anger, frustration and even dislike need to leak into all relationships.

People argue, they disagree. That doesn’t mean they have to fight outright, but unless they are relinquishing their person in entirety to the other, they should disagree with something at some point. Small or large it doesn’t matter as long as they are individuals in a relationship not a single entity of boring complacency. A strong independent person should not become completely submissive for the love of their partner. A weak and insipid person would not overnight become brazen and forward to please a lover. Change takes time, real change. If they do morph too quickly it’s got to be fake and short lived. The honeymoon wears off, people can’t and don’t change who they basically are for any sudden reason. Sure, they can make one or two modified decisions, but their core must be solid. If they are on a journey of growth and change this should happen slowly.

So every relationship I write I do my very best to make sure someone rubs someone the wrong way. I make sure that they strive to make the other happy, but don’t lose their annoying habits or basic foundation of who they are. A devil simply can’t become an angel overnight, unexplained as if by magic.

Dale spent the morning at his desk thinking and brooding. Lucky for him the workload was light with both Sasha and Clifton missing. The rumors were flying that they had run away together. He had no problem laughing and perpetuating that rumor. It was hilarious to think the glacial Sasha was hitting the creepy useless figurehead idiot boss.

Amber was ignoring him completely, but behaving like her old self otherwise. She ignored all attempts to contact her since the uber incident last night. Every time she laughed or giggled, his mood slipped darker. It took some planning but he knew he could catch her alone. One sneaky email and voila.

Amber tapped her toe waiting for the other staff to show. She glanced down at her watch as the door opened and Dale popped in, turned and closed the door quickly.
“Sit.” He said as she got up to flee the room.
She stopped and remained standing. “Go to hell Dale.”
“Look, you can be mad at me, I deserve it. Just talk to me.”
“Why? So you can call me a slut and suggest everyone other than you.” She stopped and lowered her voiced. “I’ll deal with it, you’re off the hook.”
“What do you mean by deal with it?”
“Not your problem.” She crossed her arms.
“It is half my-” He stopped. “Amber I let Scott put doubt in my mind. I believe you, I’m sorry it’s just a lot to process so quickly.”
She stared at him expressionless.
“What do you mean deal with it?”
She sighed and closed her eyes.
“No, please don’t Amber.”
“Why not? What do you care? Why do you care?”
He stepped closer to her. “I don’t sleep around either.” He put his hand on her arm. “I only have sex with people I like. I hoped you might stop looking at Scott with blinders and see me.”
Her abrupt laugh made him step back and pull his hand away.
“Oh Dale, you’re hilarious. You don’t like me romantically any more than I like you that way. I’ll raise it on my own. I can’t abort you moron. I’m catholic.” She chuckled. “Sort of.”
“Will you let me help? Be the dad I mean?”
She shrugged. “If you want. But if you do, you don’t get to half ass it and quit if you get bored or scared.” She moved past him to the door. “For the record, I only slept with you because Krista and Bria dared me to. They bet me I wouldn’t.”
Dale flinched when the door slammed behind her. She loved her games of betting and daring others. She instigated Scott’s dare to sleep with Sasha. It made sense that she would take a bet or dare from her snotty stuck up no good slutty friends.
“I bet those so called friends dump your ass the second they find out.” Dale spat the words at the closed door. His ego bruised, he did like her, but she only had eyes for Scott. “Fine. Be a bitch.” He opened the door while muttering under his breath. “Two can play that game.”

Stressful moment past, they have had time to adjust. Or so they think. Once the initial shock wore off I needed to have them slip back to their core behaviors. If I’m going to let them change it won’t be overnight. Dale and Amber aren’t nice people, they are bullies by nature. They feel superior, act it, and act on it.

My advice about squeaky-clean interactions.
Nope, nope, nope. People are messy, emotions are messy and people rarely react/act like they are expected to. Perfection is boring, super-duper, bang your head off the wall boring. Make it fun, dirty up the conversation a bit.

-Sheryl

Other posts

Yes… no… maybe?

The jerk-face warrior

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Flee
Clean

Missing body parts

Yeah I know it sounds like I’m going to get all creepy or something. Maybe I will, maybe I wont.  When it comes to writing I’m open to advice and suggestions.  Someone gave me some great advice. Take a good look at what’s missing. What parts of the body are being neglected or have just vanished into the abyss of easy writing?

There are the more obvious parts that I mention regularly because they are either the most used or the most commonly looked at.  But, there is so much more to the body than the obvious. From the hairs on your legs, arms and armpits to the

So I made a list of all the body parts I use to describe action and emotion and then compared it to a list of all body parts (On the outside, don’t get morbid on me here.) The main action parts stood out the most. This is just from a portion of writing I did, not an overall rule/example of all writing.

Head (Most parts of except ears for some reason and temples)
Mouth
Lips
Teeth
Nose
Bridge of nose
Nostrils
Cheeks
Chin
Forehead
Eyebrows
Eyelids
Feet
Hands and fingers
Arms
Legs in general
Thigh
Chest/breast
Back
Hip
Waist
Shoulders (The good ole shruggers)
Neck, nape, front back and side

So what am I neglecting?

Ears
Temples
Butt/backside
Knees
Elbows
Shins
Forearms
Toes
Knuckles
Ribs

That’s not to say I haven’t used the ‘neglected’ before, I just don’t use them often or where I could. For fun I’ll forgo the common parts this time. So here goes, a scene featuring the neglected.

After the infuriating post-lunch encounter with Scott, Sasha made it back to her office without her knees buckling. She elbowed the door closed behind her and rested her forearms on her desk. Sasha leaned forward to catch her breath. Her ears burned from Scott’s words and the undeniable gossip that was brewing outside now. Standing upright as Scott wrapped his knuckles on the door and came in closing it behind him.
“Are you insane?” She kept her voice down to a hiss rubbing her temples. “This is only going to make things worse for me.”
“I was sent to help you with the Proctor layout.” He leaned his firm backside against the edge of her desk casually. “This, tantrum or whatever your having is your own doing Sasha.”
“Unbelievable.” She kicked the desk instead of his shin, the satisfaction was lost in the sudden sharp pain in her toes. “This is your fault Scott. You should have left me alone.”
“I’m not the one kicking furniture. Though I suspect you’d rather kick me. I cant see why. I’m being honest with you.”
She didn’t buy that. Something was off with him and his sudden application of attention.
“Yes I would rather kick you. Why are you bothering with me? Is it because I’m saying no to you? Are you so self-absorbed that my rejecting you is interoperated as the starting line?” 
He laughed hard holding his ribs exaggeratedly. “Oh yeah, that’s a great way to describe it. Of course the chase is half the fun Sasha.” He moved away from the desk, bridged the gap between them in three steps and leaned close to her face. “I’m not giving up until I get what I want.”
“What is that?”
“You in bed with me.” His warm breath brushed across her skin.
“Not happening.” She ducked and moved away to behind her desk.
“We’ll see about that. Now let’s look at what you have for the layout so far.”

I think the lesson I learned from this is to think whole body and not just the ones I use like crutches. It was fun to think outside the usual and try out a few of the lesser parts.

My advice about leaving body parts out.
Don’t, put them back in, nobody wants a neckless, armless protagonist who only uses her hands and face. Give a few of the lesser mentioned bits and pieces a chance.

-Sheryl

Other body part posts:

Hold your tongue!

Shut your cake hole

Eyes that carry worlds

Copyright © 2016 All rights reserved
Bridge

Rejecting the rejected

BiaAtlas book update.

Well it has been 23 days since I started submitting my book to Literary Agents for representation. I got my first rejection letter from this round.  I am expecting them, after all not all agents are a good fit or are interested specifically in my genre (Even though they say they are).

A rejection letter isn’t the end of the world, I’ve talked about them before in the rejection letter.  I have to say I appreciate that they even sent one. Some agencies say ‘if you don’t hear from us within 8 weeks consider your query rejected’ or something along those lines.

Being rejected by someone or for something is a common part of our lives. Some people handle it like champs and move on while others on the other end of the spectrum dive into depression and struggle to overcome the hurdle. It also depends on how important the outcome would be and what the expectations were. How did I set myself up? To be hugely disappointed or go in knowing rejection is possible.

When and if I include rejection in my stories it’s not something I give too much though to. Why? Because I just didn’t think of it as important. Now I do. That is because it can, like so many other things I prattle on about, be pivotal to a story or character development.

So I’m going to write a fun part-chapter about rejection today.

Sasha meets Cal:

Sasha watched the handsome man approach, his dark brown eyes sparkled with interest. Anne and Valery ditched the moment they figured out he was interested in Sasha. Always interfering they giggled and snickered their way to a table to watch. He was tall, it didn’t take much to overshadow Sasha, but his height was coupled by a thick chest and broad shoulders. She did not want to be here, she did not want to be hit on, not tonight. She cast her tittering friends a death-glare as the man stopped and smiled down at her.

“I’m Cal.” He held his hand out.

Odd, this tall and impressive man didn’t employ the ancient tradition of weird pick up lines or cheesy invitations to buy her a drink.  He had a day’s growth of dark beard hair on his strong square jaw. Her inclination to touch his cheek brought a frown to her lips as she shook his hand instead. He was dangerous and far too attractive. Time to shut this down.

“Sasha.” She pulled her hand from his, picked up the lime daiquiri the bartender just set down.

“Nice to meet you Sasha.” Cal’s charming slanted smile made her palms sweat. “Christian Louboutin’s?” He gestured at her feet.

“Ah, yes?”

“You’ve been to New York?”

“No. I know how to shop on line like most humans.” She had lucked out and got them 75% off and a few others. Her size wasn’t standard so they sometimes had old stock. That they were last season or whatever they were labelled as didn’t matter one bit.  It is important for her to dress to impress for work and party. At home, she was jeans and a t-shirt kinda woman. Her suits and expensive shoes helped her land the bigger clients so she indulged on the designers discounts.

“You don’t look happy to be here Sasha.”

Again, no awkward pick up line.

“I’m not.” She dug deep to find her inner bitch. The sooner she got away from him the better. She would talk to one more guy as per the agreement with Valery and Anne, order them two more shooters each and leave as soon as they were drunk enough. “And this is not making it any better.”

“The gross frozen drink or my talking to you?” Cal tilted his head slightly.

“Both.” She glanced over at her friends who both gave her double thumb up as they sipped their daiquiris. She looked back at Cal who had followed her line of sight.

“Let me guess you’d rather be at home curled up on the couch watching a rom-com dousing your woes with a bottle of…” He smiled slightly and tapped his chin. “I’m going to go out on a limb here and say Norman Hardie Pinot Noir.”

Her mouth fell open, it was her favorite, and if she wasn’t drinking tequila shooters she would have had a glass or two.

“I’m not clairvoyant. You’ve glanced at the bottle behind the bar three times.”

“Oh.”

His unexpected charm was disarming.

“You’re planning on getting them drunk enough to ditch them aren’t you.” He smiled and tipped his glass toward her two friends.

“How could you know that?”

“Because Sasha you’ve been one to their three on drinks, you keep looking behind me at the exit and correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re about to tell me to get lost.”

Sasha took a deep breath and huffed. “I have to talk to you for at least five more minutes.”

He leaned closer. “Hmm. To get them off your back?” The scent of cologne wafted to her nose. The luscious blend of floral, spice and masculinity was subtle and not overpowering. If Sasha wasn’t so royally unhappy right now she might have considered being nicer to the very alluring man. Of all the nights he picked this one to stroll over all sexy, nice and talk to her. Not ‘how ‘bout that rain yesterday?’ or ‘what brings you to Starches?’ Real conversation was hard to come by.

“Well then I have four and a half more minutes. What do you do for a living?”

“Graphic design.” She dropped her eyes from his face and saw Anne leave to dance with a guy she’s flirted with since they arrived. Valery shrugged and mouthed ‘your turn’.

Rolling her eyes Sasha looked back at Cal. He would be an easy target for her built up anger, resentment and underlying sadness.

“Let me save you the trouble of the crap questions Cal. I’m a Virgo, I don’t have pets, I love my job, I don’t like dancing, terrible pick-up lines or small talk. I don’t like pushy men, or the bars they prowl in. I don’t care what you do, or who you are, what you do or do not like whatsoever. Since you voluntarily strolled over, I’m using you to fulfill a promise that I would “try”. I don’t date, ever, and before you ask, I’m not interested in women either.” She looked at her watch turned to the bartender and ordered six tequila shooters.

“Well at least you love your job.” He chuckled. “How ‘bout Piña coladas? Or getting caught in the rain?”

Her lips curled up slightly, he was trying to cheer her up and he was listening. Then the reality of the song hit her as she recalled the lyrics.

“I am into yoga and I have more than half a brain. I don’t appreciate cheaters or those that plan to cheat. I’ll say it again.” She looked at her watch before glancing at Valery as she finished her drink. “I don’t date, ever. Thanks for talking to me, but you can go now. Find some other woman to charm to bed I’m not interested.”

“You sure I can’t persuade you to talk more or maybe dance?”

“No you can’t.” She shook her head, picked up the six shots on the small tray with lemon wedges and salt and walked away to Valery.

Sasha has her reasons for rejecting Cal, this is her personal torment to overcome. I look at how rejection affected myself or others I know. It can be a wealth spring of opportunity to create conflict within a characters personal life. It can inspire struggle to overcome or depression and even anger. It can bring out the inner strength and determination they didn’t know they had.

My advice about rejection.
We can’t say yes to everything, even a simple no is a rejection. Use rejection to push a character forward or down. Or to showcase an inner struggle such as Sasha’s.

-Sheryl

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