• It is said that good things come to those who wait. I believe that good things come to those who work. - Wilt Chamberlain
  • A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit. - Richard Bach
  • You don't find time to write. You make time. It's my job. - Nora Roberts
  • Each morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most. - Buddha
  • Luck is when an opportunity comes along and you're prepared for it. - Denzel Washington
  • I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying. - Michael Jordan

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Report Card Rejections

My childrens' school system instituted a new program this year where I can get their grades via computer weeks before I receive a paper report card. I think it's great. Marking period ends on a Friday, grades available the following Wednesday. Problems identified earlier, threats made, plan of correction implemented immediately, not several weeks into the next marking period.

Numbered grades are accompanied by comments so you can see exactly how your child is doing and why. A pleasure to have in class. Satisfactory effort. Assigned work not complete. Homework quality must improve. Low test scores. Work improving. Late homework.

I'm proud to say my son (11th grade) missed straight A's by one point (an 89 in honors social studies). My daughter (8th grade) needs to work on French, social studies, and homework quality. Let the nagging begin!

What does this have to do with writing? I read so many posts from writers upset about receiving form rejection letters. Wouldn't it be great to get a report  card rejection. Something quick like: A: Better than most but still not there. B: Getting closer. C: Average - need to do something to make yourself stand out. D: Needs a lot of work. F: Didn't make it past the first page. And a few quick comments would help immensely: Voice is a pleasure to read. Satisfactory punctuation. Plot not complete. GMC (goals, motivation, conflict) must improve. Slow pacing. Saggy middle. Good story - no market. Take a writing class.

So what do you think? Are you all for an industry wide grading scale so you have some idea where you stand? Or have you had enough of report cards while you were in school? 


  1. Hey, Wendy!

    Oh, do I wish I had that right now with my 8-year old. We get papers back once a week, but still, I'd like to know how he's doing overall. He's trying to perfect the art of scamming his way out of homework.

    And, I'd love a report card system for feedback on submissions. I'm here to learn and improve.

    Great topic.

    Abbi :-)

  2. LOL! I think that is an awesome idea - an industry standard report card so I'd know whether I'm improving or simply persisting. Great post!

  3. Great post Wendy. That would be great. To get an industry standard report card. So the question will sub or not to sub!

  4. ha ha first of all i am glad I am out of school, i never got good comments even when i got good grades.
    The prob with grading now could be who would set the scale, 50 could be a C or F and then we would start pressing agents am I a 59 or 51? what is your cut off mark to get accepted and they will say 95.
    if you have any french questions shoot me an email, I will be glad to answer questions.

  5. I know, Abbi. Feedback on a report card is so important. Having older children I encourage you to contact your son's teacher if you have any concerns. Don't wait! Did you see my comment on my last post where Jen and I said we want to be techno cool like you?

    Thanks, Regina. You totally get it. Just a little bit of feedback can go a long way to improving the quality of submissions and agent/editor received. (At least IMO.)

    Thanks, Nas. Industry standard is the key. And something quick with a universally available code. We don't want to make extra work for anyone.

    Joanna!!! (I am raising my voice here.)Carpal Tunnel Syndrome is not to be fooled around with. Put that brace back on this minute....I don't care if your husband is not home to yell at you. I'm yelling at you...(in the most friendly way possible ;)) (It's the nurse in me!)Take care of yourself.

  6. One problem with this is that with editors the rejection may not be based on anything you have control over. Many times it's personal taste or something like we're not publishing x or y.

  7. Good points, Janet! We can add a box for each.

  8. I love this idea! I work as a teaching assistant, so I haven't had enough of report cards. :) It would be great to know how close I was to being accepted when I query.

  9. I'm glad you like it, Lacey!

    You, too, Shelly!

    Now if I could just get some industry insiders to run with the idea!