My Guest: Chris Verstraete

I would like to welcome Christine Verstraete as my guest today on the Muse Blog Tour.

Christine is an award-winning author and journalist from Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in the anthologies, Steampunk’d, Timeshares, and Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance from DAW Books. She is author of a nonfiction book on miniatures, In Miniature Style II, and a children’s mystery, Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery.

You can read more about Christine at her site:

Here is a tidbit to tempt you into reading Searching for a Starry Night, A Miniature Art Mystery: Sam, her Bff Lita, and a mischievous Dachshund named Petey face a cranky housekeeper, a dog-hating gardener, and an ancient family curse as they search for a missing miniature replica of Van Gogh’s famous painting, “Starry Night.”

Petey sure is a cute dog. I’m always game to read a story that has a Dachshund in it.

This is the cover of Christine’s non-fiction book, In Miniature Style II.

Christine is going to talk today about Writing and Rejection.

Writing and Rejection

By Christine Verstraete

Get a rejection? It’s part of being a writer, right? You hear other writers say, oh well, suck it up, be a big boy/girl, resub that manuscript and move on to something else.

What they don’t say – (at least aloud) – is that after that email or letter is read, they, too, go through those horrific periods of self-doubt, self-flagellation, and fight the urge to throw the computer across the room when they’re not crying in the bathroom or gorging on ice cream.

C’mon, admit it. It’s not as easy as all that to just act like nothing happened.

Most writers put their heart and soul (and yes, hopes) into each project. And while you shrug your shoulders, move on to something else and do resubmit that manuscript, (eventually), it still feels like a part of you has died when someone says no or they’re not interested.

Even when you’ve been writing for a while, it still can feel like the universe is against you when that one place you thought was a good fit, well, isn’t. You can’t help but make it personal, can you?

Why does getting an answer on a manuscript feel so personal, especially when it’s a generic “not for us” answer? (And what does that really mean?  Is it: A. Not for us – it’s just as it says. B. It sucks but we can’t say that. (Lawsuits and all.) C. We already have something similar (why not say that?) or D. Yes, you really do suck?

As impersonal as a form letter or a rejection can be, and as good as we are at putting distance between ourselves and our work, you can’t help but take it to heart. Sure, you shouldn’t, but admit it, don’t you do that—sometimes?

So, cry, pout, get depressed, but send it out again.

There has to be someone else out there who also thinks, wow, great story!

That’s great advice, Christine. There have been times when I wanted to cry, pout, and get depressed. It’s not easy to pick yourself up and send it out again. But that’s what we do!

10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. chris v
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 08:30:11

    Thanks Barb for hosting me and the nice comments!


  2. Marva Dasef
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 11:30:49

    Chris, don’t keep reminding me of those rejections. What I do after x number of rejections is give up, then in a couple of weeks I get combative (who the h*ll do they think they are?).

    Before warming up the old query machine again, however, read your ms again. No, just read your query, synopsis, and first five pages. What put the publisher or agent off? If you can answer that, then fix it. THEN try again.


  3. Nancy
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:10:57

    Chris, I love that cover for Starry Night. So cute. Rejections are a necessary evil unfortunatly, even tho I do hate to get them. Once I get over the ‘what do they mean I over used the word that?’ or Huh, how can you not like my hero? Then I go and revise some more.



  4. chris v
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 15:50:54

    yes the revisions never seem to end…. what I’m doing now— again! haa!


  5. barbarabockman
    Sep 27, 2011 @ 18:56:36

    I have a couple of revisions I need to get at, or the publishers will forget they said they would look at them again!
    “Revision.” It’s a subject that always on a writers mind.


  6. Barbara Ehrentreu
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 02:56:39

    Chris, rejection was part of my life for five years as I tried to sell my book to a traditional publisher. There was always something they didn’t like. Then after I had changed the entire first chapter over and over again, I sent it out one more time. This time I really thought I had a chance. I had met an editor at BEA and pitched my story to him and he wanted to see more. But it was rejected. After that I put it away for an entire year, but I loved my first chapter so I sent my first paragraph to Margot Finke’s first pages workshop at Muse Online Writer’s Conference two years ago. Margot loved it, so that was when I decided I might send it out one more time. The one more time was when I pitched it at last year’s conference and now it is published. My feeling is if you love your story then just keep sending it out. Someone else will love it too. You just have to be patient!!


  7. C.K. Volnek
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 12:30:56

    Hi Chris,
    Excellent post. You are so right. I just received a rejection on a picture book I sent in six months ago. It’s hard to swallow. Self-doubt is ALWAYS nipping at my heels. thanks for the post to remind me I’m not alone in the boat. And hugs to any and all of my fellow brother and sister writers going through a rejection. Don’t give up, the next one might the one to buy it all!
    C.K. Volnek


  8. barbarabockman
    Sep 28, 2011 @ 16:22:33

    You said it, C. K. More power to all of us!!


  9. Pam
    Sep 30, 2011 @ 10:25:39

    Great post. Everyone needs a little kick in the butt once in awhile to get back on the bus and re-submit!
    Thanks for sharing!


  10. Rita Conner
    Oct 07, 2011 @ 09:54:30

    Being a recent retiree who is looking to reinvent myself and flirting with writing am very grateful for the tidbits of information and the encouragement I find in this blog , not to mention the wonderful reviews on literary treasurers.


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