The first story I ever wrote was called The Pink Dress. I stapled the pages into a book and drew a cover. I don’t remember how old I was. Many years later, I wrote a short story, submitted it, and received a rejection from Redbook magazine. I was fourteen and I still have the story and the rejection slip, and I still remember the feeling of rejection and disappointment when I received it.
My first novel length manuscript was titled The Rebel. I’m actually too embarrassed to tell you what it was about, but the title would have sold well to Silhouette, don’t you think? In fact it probably has. I was sixteen when I wrote it.
I wrote in notebooks for years when my children were growing up, and started a couple of books that way, but I didn’t get serious until my youngest daughter went to first grade. I was lost without her, but instead of having another baby or embarking on a real career :::LOL::: I decided that was the time to write the book I’d always wanted to write.
All The Tender Tomorrows. Great title, eh? Ambitious undertaking. Great characters. No plot. Passive, passive, passive writing. A totally unsaleable time period. It was typed on an old manual Smith-Corona, with an “A” that struck half a line below all the other letters, and it underwent at least three or four complete rewrites. I didn’t know it was passively written. I didn’t know it was a time period no one would buy. I thought it had a great plot -- I was involved! I sent it to many, many publishers. Most major historical publishers. What they should have said in their rejection letters was: “This doesn’t fit our present needs, and if it ever does, we’ll shoot ourselves.” But they didn’t.
I didn't receive constructive rejections; I got vague, form rejections. But I did learn to persevere. I wrote the whole thing from beginning to end and rewrote it as many times and as many ways as I knew how. And if one of those publishers had told me how to change it to make it better, I’d have done that, too.
I still just might sell that story someday.