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Wednesday, 2 September 2015


As an aspiring writer of a certain age with some success at getting my stuff published, I know, as all writers do, that there are more rejections than acceptances, and I have grown to learn that we should embrace the knock-backs.  They don't kill us but, if absorbed in the right way (after the initial 'eff me' outburst, of course), they will make us stronger and more determined to bounce back off the ropes.

Last year I finished a 45-minute radio drama script and after a few nudges of encouragement, including some nice words from actor Charlie Lawson, I sent it to the BBC in Northern Ireland, for there are a few Belfast themes in the piece and I come from there, so it seemed logical.

Many months passed and I felt the urge to do a bit of gentle pestering but I resisted and let things happen in their own time.

Now, in the past, I have either heard nothing back from those to whom I have pitched writing or I have received a one-liner along the lines of 'no, thanks'.

But, as rare as hen's teeth that they are, once in a while a rejection note is thoughtful, helpful and encouraging, even though it is a vehicle for bad news.

Yesterday I received an email from a BBC Producer who had not only taken the time to read my script but also took the time to write about it in a way that made me smile with delight rather than grrrr with regret.

The body of the email said this:

"Thank you so much for sending ‘Shaking Hands’. It’s a very thoughtful, emotional and intelligent script which I very much enjoyed reading.  I thought your treatment of the relationship between father and son was very interesting and viscerally drawn - you really could feel the anger and frustration and hopes and vulnerabilities of the characters as they negotiated the stages of the meeting.  Although I was secretly hoping for a happy ending, I also very much admired how you left the piece, with no resolution possible given the past, but perhaps some understanding for the characters."

After reading this section, I was elated because I now know that an independent judge has convinced me that the idea has legs.

What I do with the script now, I have no idea.  I will have to research who other than the BBC produces radio drama.

But, for now, I accept this rejection.  It is not the outcome I had hoped for but it has boosted my confidence and I have boinged back off the ropes to go again.

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