A Funny Thing Happened . . .

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 David N. Walker, click the “About” tab above.

For more information about his books, click on “Books” above.

Contact him at dnwalkertx (at) gmail (dot) com or tweet him at @davidnwalkertx.


About David N. Walker

David N. Walker is a Christian husband, father and grandfather, a grounded pilot and a near-scratch golfer who had to give up the game because of shoulder problems. A graduate of Duke University, he spent 42 years in the health insurance industry, during which time he traveled much of the United States. He started writing about 20 years ago and has been a member and leader in several writers' groups. Christianity 101: The Simplified Christian Life, the devotional Heaven Sent and the novella series, Fancy, are now available in paperback and in Kindle and Nook formats, as well as through Smashwords and Kobo. See information about both of these by clicking "Books" above.
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8 Responses to A Funny Thing Happened . . .

  1. I loved the humour and honesty in this piece, David. We’ve all walked this same path in one way or another and, like you, the best thing we can do is learn from all of this experience and keep on writing!


  2. David – Oh, yes – that business of the learning curve. I hear you loud and clear.


  3. I took my first completed novel to a writer’s conference and made appointments and pitched it, waiting for what surely would be my big break. However…three novels later, that one resides in a drawer waiting for me to re-write it (and I will, I love the characters too much to let them slumber forever). My big break didn’t come until my 3rd novel was completed–and I’d been turned down plenty of times. But, if you have the gift of writing stirring in your spirit, you can’t quit. You keep going, you keep growing in your craft (classes, pitches, meetings, networking) and you keep putting yourself out there! Good job on not giving up and not quitting the dream!


  4. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I agree with Sharon … you have come a long way in your writing career, David. I am so glad that your persistence and willingness to learn, along with your team of author friends, has led you to the point of being a published author. Proud of you, Bro.


    • Barb Estinson says:

      Well, I did something wrong … that reply which was done at 10:13 a.m. was mine, not Sharon’s … she had replied earlier. Guess I need to put my wn name in the box below! Barb


  5. Sharon K. Walker says:

    I’m no professional writer, largely because I don’t have a particularly creative mind. Nevertheless, I remember the utter devastation I felt when I received an “F” on my first English essay at the University of Texas. The prof accused me of flag-waving, which I was. You’ve come a long ways in your writing. I am loving Fancy, and am eagerly awaiting your next novella. You truly have a fertile, creative mind. Here’s wishing you much success in your writing career.


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