Missed Opportunities

Several years ago, a friend had written a fiction manuscript which had an amazing voice.  I couldn’t wait for her to market it.  She sent the ms. out a few times to editors  and received standard rejections until finally she got a nibble. 

“You need to show more than tell in these chapters,” suggested the editor.  “But your writing is good.”  She went on to give more of a detailed critique of what the writer could do to improve the beginning of the story.

My friend, instead of being elated that she received A PERSONAL REJECTION (aka SUCCESS IS COMING!), she felt dejected.  How could the editor not love each and every word of her book?  This must mean she was a failure as a writer.  

She put the manuscript back into a drawer. 

“Why don’t you work on that book again?” I suggested to her recently. 

She lifted up her hands into the air,  helpless.  “It’s too late now.  The editor wouldn’t remember who I was, even if that editor was still at that publishing house.  The house might even have folded.” 

“So what?”  I said. 

“But I missed my chance.”

“It’s not too late,” I said.  “You still have the manuscript with the fabulous voice.  Rework it.   Even if the editor is now selling Tupperware, there are OTHER editors out there.  And you never even tried an agent.  Besides, maybe the editor still IS and editor after all.”

My friend nodded slowly; a light flickered in her eyes. 

Writing Prompts: 

1.  Write about a time you missed an opportunity or thought you had.

2.  Create a poem titled, Missed Opportunities.

3.  Sometimes we choose to say no to an opportunity that we think isn’t right for us.  This opens the door for something better.  Who knows?   My friend may have more maturity now to handle the rewrite and will come up with a better draft.   Write a piece (any form or genre) about another door opening to a more desirable turn of events.

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3 Responses to “Missed Opportunities”

  1. Nannette Rundle Carroll Says:

    Great piece, Liz. And an interesting story. Love the writing prompts.

  2. lizbooks Says:

    Thanks Nannette! Liz

    • Nannette Rundle Carroll Says:

      Knowing what I know about publishers, I recognize the incredible gift that your friend received. For an editor to take the time to offer feedback means they see a gem hidden in your work and that they want to help you.

      I hope your story inspires other writers who think that feedback is demoralizing to see that they are fortunate indeed. They are “in the loop,” on the road to being published! It’s a wonderful sign to keep on keeping on!

      Thank you for your piece.

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