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Oakdale Confidential:
An As The World Turns Novel

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Whenever I sit on a panel at a writer's conference, the question inevitably comes up from the audience: How do you handle rejection?

The primary truth is: By ranting and raving at my husband about what fools these editor mortals be.

Then again, having worked in soap operas for the past 10+ years, I really have come to learn that "Does not meet our needs at this time" honestly means just that.

It doesn't mean the proposed book sucks, it doesn't mean you can't write or that your photos is one no editor would dare put on a book jacket. It means that your manuscript does not meet their needs at this time. Period. (Maybe you're pitching cozies and this publishing house only does hard-boiled. Or yours is a romance set in Portugal and they've already got "Love, Portuguese Style" in the pipeline. Or the editor was once dumped by a guy named Garrick and has sworn never to publish a book with that moniker lest her ex think she's still obsessed with him).

Having seen a lot of casting sessions, I've learned that so many more factors other than talent go into selecting an actor for a role. You might be too short, too tall, too old, too young, the wrong ethnicity. (Despite what Dustin Hoffman swore in "Tootsie," you can't really act blonder).

Take, for instance, the role of Lulu Spencer on GH. Julie Marie Berman is an excellent actress, there is no doubt about it. But statistically speaking, there probably were at least another half dozen actresses at that audition who were equally talented. Julie Marie Berman, however, also happens to look a great deal like Genie Francis, who played Laura, of daytime's iconic Luke & Laura -- little Lulu's Mommy and Daddy. So lucky Julie got the role. And the other girls simply did not meet the show's needs at that time.

It helps to handle publication rejection, if you think of it in the same vein.

(A bit of on-topic gossip to make this post more lively: In 1994, when I was the writer on E's "Pure Soap," we had Kimberly McCullough (Robin) on as a guest. I was chatting with her mom in the green room, and she mentioned that when Kimberly was auditioning for GH as a seven year old, the role came down to two girls. According to Kimberly's mother, "A gorgeous little girl who looked just like Finola Hughes (Anna), and then Kimberly, who could really act." Seemed like an odd thing to say about your child...)


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