How strong are you?

I (erica) shared with you guys last week that the rejection I got on my full recently said that although I had an enjoyable story and an interesting concept, the strength of my writing was less than that of other books they had for consideration.

So, if you're me, the first thing you do is find out what that means. Sure, experience (reading and writing) helps. Also, adding more voice. Making the characters more real, the emotions more raw, and the actions more, well, action-y. But I've already done all that - more than once, way more than once - so what now? Another rewrite. Will that make the book more publishable?

I hope so.

Until then, these are the links I found to help me. I hope they help you, too! (btw, if your looking for writing resources on the web and you've exhausted your usual favorites, I highly recommend checking out this site: Writer's Knowledge Base. (just click on the titles to go to the links):

Creating "strong" YA female characters

Ten tips to improve your writing and then ten more.

Understanding your weaknesses

Quotes to help you through the writerly-dumpity-dos.

So, there's lots more, and I'll post them as I go, but frankly, if I see a blog with 800 (er, more like 10, but sometimes it feels like 800) links, I get overwhelmed and leave without looking at them. Just sayin'.

Have you posted any great links lately that will help me strengthen my writing? Or, even better, have you posted your own tips? Leave them in the comments!


  1. Rejections on fulls are the absolute worst! Go eat icecream and watch tv! But that's awesome that the agent actually gave you feedback! I think a lot of times strength of writing is voice and the actual writing. Was there enough strong verbs and sensory images that led the reader from paragraph to paragraph. Reading Laurie Halse Anderson's YA books is excellent writing. Just keep writing!

  2. I don't have much to add to what LP said, but remember that most really successful books were rejected several times before publication.

  3. Awesome links!Thanks! I've done a series on character development, if that's an area you want to strengthen... everything I've posted from the last week.

    Don't give up. Eventually, we'll have a story that shines. :)

  4. Rejections are hard, and you can go insane trying to read between the lines. Will is right, some of the most successful books were rejected dozens of times before they found a home.

  5. Yay for feedback-- at least you know what to work on. But bummer about the rejection. :(

    That's a cool resource, thanks!

  6. I love that you're determined to improve, that is the mark of someone who will get there! I recommend stopping by my blog and checking out the mega giveaway going on. You can win a few books on the writing craft that I highly recommend. My favorite (that we're ironically not givin away) is Noah Lukeman's First Five Pages. Hang in there girl, you will get there!

  7. I'm proud of you for going out and finding more resources to help. That is the way to tackle a rejection. I'll be checking out those links too. Thanks!

  8. *Sending hugs and chocolate* take a minute to let the rejection soak in. Step back from the work. Read or write something else. And then come back.

    I just went through a similar time. Except I got form rejects and a reject on a partial on something I had worked on, rewritten, added to, subtracted from, and everything else.

    I am now working on something totally new, because I decided that there was nowhere else to go with the old project... writing wise or submission wise. Done. Shelved.

    It hurt. But I'm totally in love with my new WIP... we have daily quickies, me and this WIP... I am it's horn section and it is the boom and my bip.

    Good Luck. Eat chocolate.

  9. Erica, I don't know how many books you've written, but a request for a full is nothing to sneeze at! That, in itself, is something to celebrate. It lets you know that you've got something worthwhile to offer. Seems like agents are looking harder than ever for new writers to rep right now, but given what's going on in the industry, are being more shy about signing. (shy? is that a word we ever associate with agents? hmmm, maybe reticent would be more accurate) You will definitely get there as long as you don't give up!!

  10. p.s. forgot to answer your question. YES, we have links. check out tomorrow's post on Critique Sisters Corner for our latest (you'll recognize some of them, and like them!)

  11. Thanks for the links! Hang in there for the rewrites. Remember it's all subjective too, someone passed on JK Rowling and tons of other now famous authors for that same reason.

  12. Awesome links! And I'll echo what Linda said, that a request for full is still an amazing step toward something! That comes to so few.

  13. Thanks for sharing these links! And don't give up. There are lots of publishers out there and persistence really does pay off.

  14. Hey, Erica,

    I agree with Linda.... Just being asked for a full is a HUGE accomplishment. You're really putting it out there. I wish I did more. I stopped long ago revising like a maniac until I start again. Hopefully soon.

    I wish I knew of other links. Thanks for these.


  15. Sorry to her about the big rejection :( My only advice is to walk away for a bit...let it sit. You can see the flaws more after you've been away from it for a while. Maybe work on something else???

  16. Rejections stink .. but at least we have places to go to learn how to make our work better!

    I agree with you on link overload too - it can be shudder inducing! :)

  17. Sorry to hear that - I'm also keen to know what 'strength' means.

    Fantastic tips and links Erica, we all love you for this.

  18. I'm not strong AT ALL, and can definitely get help from these useful tips.
    Thanks for sharing. :D


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