We may not have it all together, but together we have it all.
A funny thing happened to me on my way to take the publishing industry by a storm. I had just finished writing a thriller based on happenings in the oilfield. It was the early 1980’s when oil production was booming and everyone was thinking about energy independence and remembering the lines at service stations in 1973.
This novel couldn’t miss. It was based on my own personal experiences, and I knew I was such a brilliant writer all the houses in New York would fight for the chance to publish my work. Black Lightning would be an instant bestseller, and I’d make enough money to forget the painful failure of not closing the oil deal I’d worked so hard to put together.
Anybody remember seeing that book 30 years ago? That may be because those fools in Manhattan didn’t have sense enough to recognize genius when they saw it. Believe it or not, they unanimously turned down the opportunity to publish this fantastic book.
How could they do that? How could they fail to recognize my genius? How could they miss seeing the great opportunity offered by this book?
Okay, if they were that short-sighted, I’d show them. I just wouldn’t write any more. That would punish them.
Ten years later, I decided to write a novel—which turned out to be six novels—just for my own pleasure. When everyone in my family agreed they were great books, I decided to give New York a second chance. This time I started submitting under the pen name Dallas Houston. Pretty cute, huh? One of the few agents who sent me a “no” instead of just ignoring me said he was glad I hadn’t chosen Fort Worth Texarkana for my name.
After years of attending writers’ groups where we all read five pages of text to one another—and none of us had a clue how these five pages fit in with the rest of the manuscript—I came to the conclusion I didn’t know how to write a novel and there was no way to learn how.
Then, after a Bob Mayer seminar, Kristen Lamb and I decided to create a new group specifically for novel writers. Starting with Bob’s teachings as a base and building from there, we began to learn about antagonists and conflict and other such things that had just been hazy concepts before.
That group no longer exists, but it did a couple of important things for me. It showed me clearly why all my earlier work had been turned down, and it gave me hope that if I started writing all over again using what I’d learned, maybe I could write something publishable.
I now belong to a small group of six writers. Doesn’t sound too impressive, does it? But four of us have fiction on the market. Among us, we’ve now published nine books. Maybe one of mine will take off and make me an overnight success after only thirty years of trying.
Has anyone else besides me experienced any rejections and delays in putting this writing career together? Tell us about it.
For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.
Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.