Cutting Away the Fat

Recently, I got a rejection letter that actually had feedback. FEEDBACK. Which, while it’s still the bitter arrow to heart called rejection, I could not be more thrilled for my subsequent wound. Because, feedback means my work was actually read and I could actually improve.

As it happened, I took out an entire prologue and immediately started with action.

Yes, that makes so much sense. But, as all writers know, it is like losing a limb when you cut out a chapter, a plot line, or a character. And, then you have phantom limb syndrome in which you can’t stop thinking about that chapter/plotline/character and raising a glass with a tear in your eye, toasting “I’ll miss you, Prologue.”

And, I will. I have it saved away in a document (because I couldn’t bear to part with it entirely) so I can reminisce on the wonderful memories we shared together. Crafting each sentence with loving care, choosing every word with precision and detail. Yet, with just one rejection letter, I cut it out of my life.

Because, in the end, it is more important for me to present the best work possible than it is to refuse criticism or editing. Because, I want to see this novel accepted by a literary agent and eventual publisher. Because, one day I want to walk into a Barnes & Noble and head over to the fantasy section and pick up a copy of Ren Kolozak’s “The Midnight Tide.”

Such a thing is worth a cutting out a few prologues.


Published by Ren Martinez

Ren is a thirty-something Lost Boy whose personal aesthetic is “suspected of witchcraft by local villagers.” She subscribes to cheerful nihilism, the destruction of the patriarchy, and the belief that glitter makes everything better. She is a Richmond-based writer and performer who has fiction and non-fiction work found in a variety of publications, such as The Mary Sue, RVA Magazine, The Quotable, and Nostrovia Press. She is currently the fiction editor and a regular contributor at Quail Bell Magazine. She is also the co-host of the podcast, This F***ing Guy! Find out more at or read her dumbass tweets on Twitter @itsrenmartinez

One thought on “Cutting Away the Fat

  1. Hi Ren,
    Consider that you may be “cutting away the fat” (based on one agent’s opinion) during the query process in order to keep said agent’s short attention span during the hundreds of emails they must go through. BUT the “fat” may be vital in the actual full-length novel for the enjoyment of your readers and fans.
    I’m so glad you saved your prologue in another file!
    It seems there’s a certain finesse to querying (to rise above the slush) that may vanish during actual revision and polish later.
    Best of luck with your quest to publish your work!

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