Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Handling Disappointment

Two weeks ago my son tried out for the provincial U15 basketball team. The try outs were four full days of six hour practices. He made it the final selection camp and survived the first day cuts. In fact, my husband came home saying that he thought he would be the starting point guard.

The next day the coach for the team pulled my husband aside and told him that he doesn't see my son as a point guard and if he wanted to play that position then he would red shirt with the team (practice but not play in games), but if he wanted to be a wing, he would make the team for sure. After some convincing, my son decided to accept the wing position.

Fast forward to end of the try out. The coach didn't put him on the team and kept him as a red shirt. Over the next few days emails went back and forth between said coach and my husband. My son was disappointed, but in the end made the decision not to play, which was a very mature decision.

It's been stressful and I have to say I'm more disappointed for him than he is.

I had a friend told me that a publisher wanted to publish her book, but she would have to complete change it to a romance instead of adventure. She turned them down.

I've been thinking a bit about this lately. What if an agent or editor wanted you to change your book? What would you say? Do you have a line that you would say no?

The sad thing is, just like my son, even if you do compromise there's no guarantee of anything.

Just something to think about.


Jessica Nelson said...

Oh no! Your poor son. :-( I hope even better opportunities come his way.

I'm not sure how much I'd change for a publisher. I guess it would depend on if I had a contract...

Piedmont Writer said...

What a rotten coach. Your poor son.

I don't think I'd change my ms. for an editor/agent. I'd already worked too hard on it as it is to get it the way I wanted it.

Tabitha Bird said...

I feel for your son. Life is about moments like this unfortunately.

I would change quite a bit for a publisher. I say no if it crossed any of my core beliefs.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

First, I'd have to trust the advice of the publisher/editor/agent and then I'd go to work, provided I thought the change would improve the work.

For me, it's worth the try. I've been surprised changing things, thinking it wouldn't be as good...but then it turns out better.

~ Wendy

Candyland said...

Aww. That makes me sad. Um, well, I think I'd only change things if I completely trusted who I was working with and if, in my gut, I felt like it was right.

Laura Pauling said...

It's so hard to watch our children go through disappointment. :(

To do a major revision it would totally depend on what the editor was suggesting. Would it make my book better? More sellable? How excited did the editor seem in the work? If I could get into it, I might be willing b/c then I'd have possibly a more sellable ms to market. But really, it totally depends.

Matt said...

I agree with those who would change it if it felt right. But inn your friend's case, to go from adventure to romance, on the face of it, doesn't sound like a change I would make.

Carolyn V. said...

Aw! I feel so bad for your son! =(

It's hard to know what to change for an agent and what to keep. I hope your friend can figure out what a way to have the book be acceptable to both her and the agent.

Jen said...

I feel bad for your son, that really stinks that even after making the decision to change he decided not to keep him. I know your son thought long and hard and ultimately made the best decision for himself.

That would be tough to deal with as a writer. I don't know what I would do in your friends situation. You've worked very hard at your story and then to have something so big as a genre to change I would probably be with her in not wanting to change. I think right now I would say it wouldn't matter to me but that's because I'm still trying to figure out my actual genre.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm willing to compromise, but I'm not willing to change everything.

lotusgirl said...

I'd be willing to change some things, but there are certain lines that I will not cross.

JKB said...

That's too bad about your son, Patti. Give him a hug from me.

Editors are more and more consistently requesting changes before accepting a book (or even taking it to the editorial board!) It seems like out of the last 10 deals I heard about, every one of them involved changes of some sort.

So unless one writes the perfect book, I don't see the likelihood of publication happening for those that refuse to change anything about their book.

Of course, Im talking about changes that you AGREE to. Romance from adventure is ... interesting. But I've found that editors only suggest (usually!) things that help the MS, not hurt it.

Take that as my .03 cents.


Heidi Willis said...

I'm so sorry about your son. I wish sometimes I could keep mine in a bubble, but it's that kind of thing that prepares them for the rest of life, I guess.

I did have one agent say she would take on my book if I made a big change, but it would have made it an entirely different book, a totally different story. So I politely declined and told her that if I decided to write that book – the one she clearly wanted instead of the one I wrote – I would query her again. I'm glad I didn't change it.

Still, if it had been something I thought I could do that would have made the book better, I would have tried it.

Lisa and Laura said...

Poor thing! That stinks, but I admire his decision in saying no. That takes a ton of maturity and courage. Lisa and I are always open to suggestions, but I think if it was a huge overhaul, we might reconsider. We set out to write a certain kind of book and I think to a degree, we need to honor that!

Jessie Oliveros said...

I kind of feel like if my book was compromised I'd stick with my guns and say, "no thanks." But then again, I'm not there yet so I really can't say. And that is my ambivalent and undecided comment.

Jody Hedlund said...

Aw, that's a tough situation. Sorry to hear about that.

Long ago I was asked to make major changes in a book by an editor. I went through and revamped things. The publishing house eventually turned down my book. I'm still glad that I did the changes. It was an excellent experience in many ways.

strugglingwriter said...

Sports can be so disappointing sometimes. I'm glad your son handled it well.