Creative Inspirational Wisdom: The End of Something

For this week’s creative inspirational wisdom, Sara Etgen-Baker spins a tale of rejection and revision…


The End of Something


In a village called Aerendyl there once lived an inexperienced but talented elfin scribe named Lessien Nénharma.


Now it happened one day that Lessien came upon an email message from an editor at one of the major scribal presses. With bated breath, Lessien opened the email.


Dearest Scribe:

I’ve received your synopsis and the first two chapters of your novel. Although your scribing and story line show great promise, your characters are flat and lack humanity. Your subplots are intriguing but seem disconnected from the major plot. The narrative arc is weak, and your story has no clear ending. So, I can’t accept your manuscript at this time.


Amroth Súron,

Senior Editor Drannor Press


Lessien threw down her scribal quill and Skyped her instructor, Lady Telemmaitë.


“Lady Telemmaitë, whatever am I to do?” Lessien fought back tears. “Tell me. Is this the end of my scribal career?”


“No, my fellow scribe. Rejection doesn’t mark the end of your career. Rather, rejection heralds a new beginning.”


“You speak in riddles, Lady Telemmaitë. I don’t understand!”


“Tis quite simple, my accomplished apprentice. Toss out your old manuscript.” Lady Telemmaitë leaned forward. “This time begin with the ending in mind.”


“So, I focus on how the plot ends, right?”


“No, scribe, no! Focus on your characters; for your characters, their motives, and their development drive their actions and set the plot in motion—not the other way around. Begin with where they will end up.”


“I understand, Lady Telemmaitë, but I feel so overwhelmed and am afraid to begin again.”


“Begin one chapter at a time. Its end will determine the next one’s beginning.” Lady Telemmaitë smiled. “Take heart. Chapters begin and end, but fear thee not thine own endings, for they are but beginnings in disguise. Now grab thy quill and begin your next chapter!”


Sara’s love for words began when her mother read the dictionary to her every night. Her manuscripts have been published in various anthologies and magazines including Chicken Soup for the Soul, Guideposts, Wisdom Has A Voice, My Heroic Journey, Times They Were A Changing: Women Remember the 60s and 70s, and The Santa Claus Project. When not writing, Sara spends time with her husband of 34 years, Bill. Sara has been a member of the Dallas Branch NLAPW since 2014.  She enjoys the support and fellowship her affiliation with NLAPW brings into her writing life.  She may be contacted via email at:

“Feathered Quill” by Simon Howden /


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  1. Jill Adler says:

    Love this! Rejections teach growth, out-of-the-box thinking. If an editor takes time to write you, there’s something to learn, whether about your writing, yourself – or the editor. And if you receive a rejection that, after close and open-minded examination (and probably time), means nothing or offers only damage, there’s always the satisfying wad-and-throw away ritual. My writing mentor, although finding this self-satisfying for the moment, also liked saving them to flaunt after successfully publishing your piece elsewhere.