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by Ashley Franklin

Rejection is an unavoidable part of a writer’s life. In fact, the more diligently we pursue our writing dreams, the more we increase our chances of being rejected. (Hey, I don’t make the rules.)

Receiving a “no” from your dream agent or editor stings. I want to tell you that it gets easier with time, but I ravenously ate a chocolate bar after receiving a couple of rejections just a few months ago. Once that passed, I had to do something that was actually useful. I took a break. It doesn’t help to think about a rejection while still emotional about it.

What I did next is something that helps me to think of a “no” as a necessary pitstop towards my final destination of a “yes”. Instead of feeling defeated from a “no”, I started looking to it for inspiration to make my manuscript even better.

Learn from it.

You’re a writer, so take notes. Make a note of the suggestions that you receive. Write them down and turn them into a checklist even if you don’t agree with them at first.

Once you have your initial list, strike out any feedback that you don’t agree with. Specifically, dismiss any feedback that completely goes against your vision for the story.

Review your manuscript, list in hand and make the appropriate revisions.

Grow from it.

Query your shiny new manuscript that was inspired from the feedback you received by the rejection.

Put the manuscript to the side. Perhaps you’ve realized that the manuscript truly wasn’t ready and you need to work more on your craft. Perhaps you’ve realized this manuscript truly wasn’t the right fit for those you queried. Either way, you’ve grown as a writer.

We all hate form rejections. “No response” rejections are even worse. While both make it more difficult to assess what you can gain from them, it’s not impossible. You can still take apart your manuscript and read it as a reader (not as a writer). Look for parts that you don’t necessarily connect with. See if the pacing drags in places. Double-check for continuity in longer works. Nobody knows your work better than you do, and nobody knows your strengths and weaknesses as a writer like you do (just be honest with yourself!). Look past the passion of your passion project and get to work!

Once you’ve gotten to intimately know the no that you’ve received, you’ll be in a better headspace that allows your creativity to flourish.

Then, you’ll be that much closer to your YES!


Ashley Franklin is a writer, mother, and adjunct college professor. She received her M.A. from the University of Delaware in English Literature, where she reaffirmed her love of writing but realized she had NO IDEA what she wanted to do about it. Ashley currently resides in Arkansas with her family. Her debut picture book, NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, was published in 2019 by HarperCollins.

Social media savvy?  You can find Ashley on Twitter @differentashley, Instagram @ashleyfranklinwrites and Facebook at Ashley Franklin.


Ashley is giving away a non-rhyming fiction picture book critique.

Leave one message below to enter.

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below.

Good luck!

 

by Ashley Franklin

If inspiration is all around us, why does it sometimes feel as if our muse is on vacation—basking in the sun and living the good life while we’re struggling to settle into our creative groove?

Without our muse to guide the way, we are destined to be adrift in a sea of uncertainty headed towards a creative abyss, right? Wrong!

I want to let you in on a little secret. Are you ready for it? Here it is: You don’t need a muse!

There won’t be an “aha moment” around every corner. There may not be an aura surrounding your next big idea. If you want access to a constant source of inspiration, look no further than yourself.  All you need is your inspiration tool box.

My inspiration tool box helps me to generate ideas at any stage of the writing process. What’s great about it is that it only consists of three things: eyesight, insight, and hindsight.

  • Eyesight
    Take a look around. Your home, job, and favorite hangout spots are waiting to be mined for story ideas. Get your axe and get picking!
  • Insight
    Take a long, hard look at something—anything. Take a closer look at it then you normally would. Involve your senses. Take note of how it looks, smells, feels, tastes, sounds. There’s more depth involved in insight than eyesight. Consider your emotional response to what you’re observing. Experience the object of your focus.
  • Hindsight
    You can’t change the past, but you can sure draw some inspiration from it. What made your heart skip a beat when you were younger? What is the most cherished memory of your recent past? Who or what have been most important to you and why? Think about some of your first experiences and the way they made you feel.

You can use all three tools at once, or you can pick and choose. For my picture book debut, NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, I used a combination of the three to come up with the idea.  Here’s how I used my inspiration tool box:

Eyesight:

Q: What do I see a lot of?
A: Princesses. They’re everywhere and on everything.

Insight:

Q: What’s common about the princesses?
A: Most of them are White. There’s not much variation. They’re all “perfect” according to today’s standards.

Q: What’s missing?
A: Princesses with quirks. Princesses who look like me.

Hindsight:

Q: What made me happy as a kid?
A: Barbies. Mom made a point to buy me POC Barbies. I had tons.

Q: How do I feel about that?
A: Back then, the dolls made me happy. They were my favorite. Now, I realize they helped me feel seen (which was especially important because I attended predominantly White schools).

As you can see, I always begin with questions. Personally, I find that beginning with questions helps me to focus my ideas.

Armed with the thoughts gifted to me by my tool box, I decided that I wanted to write an African-American princess story. Many wretched and promising drafts later (thanks, revision!), I came up with Tameika’s story.

I’m happy to introduce to you, my Storystorm family, the cover of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE:

:

Ashley Franklin is an African-American writer, mother, and adjunct college professor. Ashley received her M.A. from the University of Delaware in English Literature, where she reaffirmed her love of writing but realized she had NO IDEA what she wanted to do about it.

Ashley currently resides in Arkansas with her family. Her debut picture book, NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE, will be published July 9, 2019 by HarperCollins. The idea for the book originated from a former Storystorm (then PiBoIdMo) challenge. For more information on Ashley, you can visit her website: ashleyfranklinwrites.com.

Social media savvy?  You can find Ashley on one of these platforms: Twitter @differentashley, Instagram: @ashleyfranklinwrites and Facebook.

Ashley is giving away two prizes to two winners. First, a signed copy of NOT QUITE SNOW WHITE when it releases. Second, a non-rhyming picture book critique.

Simply leave ONE COMMENT below to enter.

You’re eligible to win if you’re a registered Storystorm participant and you have commented once below. Prizes will be given away at the conclusion of the event.

Good luck!

 

 

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As a children's book author and mother of two, I'm pushing a stroller along the path to publication. I collect shiny doodads on the journey and share them here. You've found a kidlit treasure box.

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My Picture Books

COMING SOON:


THREE WAYS TO TRAP A LEPRECHAUN
illus by Vivienne To
HarperCollins
January 7, 2020

THE WHIZBANG WORDBOOK
illustrator TBA
Sourcebooks eXplore
August 2020

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