Rejection Wrinkles

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A Wrinkle in Time is a science fantasy novel by Madeleine L'Engle. Published in 1962, it went on to win a Newbery Medal, Sequoyah Book Award, and Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, among others.

It was the first tome in L'Engle's series of books about the Murry and O'Keefe families. (the foregoing facts from Wikipedia)

Who cares? Why is this relevant to anyone, most of all you?

Editors and agents hated it.

It was rejected 26 times in a two-year period. That's more than a bottle of gin a month in rejection letters! It subsequently sold 8,000,000 copies and has seen 60 printings.

What do editors know? They judge your book before it has been gifted with a fine cover! (From there on out, it is judged by its cover; you know this is true!)

Everyone except perhaps your family has told you to persist as a writer. (Your family may have encouraged you to train for a "real" career. Understood.) This story shows why.

Acceptance may have to do with timing, headaches, cultural values or mores, personal tastes, closed-mindedness, craziness, pessimism, budgets, deadlines, closing time, marital problems, genius (yours) and myriad other events or attitudes.

If you're out-of-step on any of them, your carefully-crafted script could be overlooked. My proof is the anecdote above, many more like it, and the plethora of very poorly written books that somehow make it to number 1 on Amazon.com.

Rejection is just a wrinkle. Deal with it.

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November 15, 2008

"I cannot possibly tell you how I came to write A Wrinkle in Time," Madeleine L'Engle's New York Times obituary quotes her as having said. "It was simply a book I had to write. I had no choice."

Thanks for the piece, Lin. Madeleine L'Engle has always been an inspiration to me — because of stories like this one and because of what she wrote.

In fact, I posted a similar piece about her on my blog back in June. Here's the link: http://markdavidmuse.blogspot.com/2008/06/dont-give-up.html.

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