I think I need a refresher course in the beginnings of writing.
When I first started writing 150 years ago, (Okay, it’s only been twenty!) I wrote a romantic suspense novel. Every mistake a beginning writer could make, I made. It was a rambling collection of words and situations that defied logic. Hell, my hero drove his Sheriff’s car all the way from Montana to Ohio and my heroine was a whiny, bitchy thing. One good thing I remember about that book, other than that I finished it, was a secondary character–a Vietnam vet. I can still see his face in my mind. Weird, hun?
I submitted the book, without revision, to Harlequin. You guessed it right, they didn’t want to read it.
My second attempt at writing was a straight romance. For this book, I plotted it from chapter one, page one to the end. I never wrote it! I had fifty or so pages of outline and I plotted my interest away. No way was I going to waste my time on it. I don’t remember anything at all about that particular project.
The third book was a combination of both methods, I believe, with a concentration on character development. I found some character charts in a How to Write book and printed them out. I answered every single one of those questions for my hero and heroine, but not for my secondary characters. I started writing that romance and stopped around page fifty or so because I had no conflict to speak off. Needless to say, I put that manuscript aside too. I tried writing character-driven romances for the next couple of years until I eventually found a blend of pantser and plotter that worked for me. I finished my next three romances and sent them to Harlequin.
I submitted my forth (or fifth, I’m not really sure now) to a different company. This company was a new publisher, and I figured ‘why not’? After all the company needed to find authors to write for them. I sent them a full and crossed my fingers. They had my manuscript for about six months when I received a letter from the editor, stating if I hadn’t heard from them yet, the book was being seriously considered.
Yeah, I jumped up and down.
I’ve finally made it!
About two weeks later, I received a rejection letter with the encouraging words of “No, thanks.” It wasn’t my first, but it definitely was the worse one.
I quit writing.