Backwards–A Quick History–Part One

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.

Nothing.

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!

Nope.

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.

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