So, thinking I had my soon to be blossoming publishing career in reach, I began to do research. I began to write a story that would fit these molds. I made a lot of mistakes, but I was lucky to enter some contests and submit some novels that gave me feedback and learned what I was doing wrong.
For the first time in my life, I was writing with a specific publisher in mind. I had a set of guidelines. All things I couldn’t have imagined even a year prior, so convinced in my story telling ability was I.
But still, I kept getting the no. The buzzer, nope not quite it. I would tell the story of two characters I loved, and still not hit the right notes. I went back to the drawing board and tried again. And kept making the same mistakes.
I’d still failed to see the necessity of an engaging synopsis if the publisher was going to read my writing. I mean, if my writing is good they could totally overlook a boring synopsis right? I hadn’t mastered the query letter. My conflict coming back as weak, weak, weak.
A year into my publishing journey I began to get discouraged. I kept writing because I am never happier than when the words are flowing, but I began to seriously question my ability to “make it.” I was trying to fit my writing into a mold, and still coming up empty. I was contorting my characters into what they were supposed to do, not what they wanted to do. I’d get halfway through and question my conflict again. Is this enough? Is this what they are looking for? I set aside story ideas that I loved because I knew they wouldn’t fit what the publisher was looking for.
Suddenly, I was in the exact opposite place I’d been a year prior. Instead of writing for me, I was writing for them. And them felt very big and bad and bold.
Finally, I was beginning to realize that neither strategy worked.