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At some point in time we all get rejected by someone, whether it is by a book editor, a literary agent, a job interviewer, a love interest, etc.

I’ve been rejected multiple times for my book manuscripts. See my post Missing the Mark on my first rejection.

Don’t get discouraged about rejections. It doesn’t mean you won’t have a second chance. I was given a second chance by that same publisher in 2007 at the Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference.

I sat down with Nick Harrison from Harvest House (my first rejection) for a 15 minute pitch of my ideas. He asked to see a sample of my writing.

Just before leaving for the conference I stuffed in my bag three chapters of one of my works in progress, so I handed him those pages. This had not been run by any critique partners so it was a rough draft. I should have been embarrassed to hand it to him.

He read the first page and turned to the next. I’ve heard many times that editors know from the first page whether it is something they are looking for in a manuscript, so I was thrilled. Then he turned the next page and the next. He asked a question about the plot of the story.

Then he said, “You’ve broken one of the cardinal rules of writing.”

My heart sank. I wondered what I did wrong.

He said I didn’t lead with the protagonist, but that I did it well.

I broke a major rule in writing fiction, but I did it well! I couldn’t have been more flattered.

He wasn’t interested in that story, but wanted to know if I had others. And boy did I. He probably regretted asking that question. I turned my notebook toward him where I had written down about 50 book ideas — all in various degrees of completion, some just a one sentence idea.

He wanted me to send him my Regency proposals. Unfortunately, those were the one sentence ideas.

I came home and worked on a contemporary piece that I had gotten some interest from other editors at the conference and was subsequently rejected by them.

An opening paragraph for the regency came to me one day so I wrote it down and haven’t stopped writing on it yet. I have written 75 pages on it and hope to write 15 pages today. See my post Writing the Breakout Novel.

I heard Mr. Harrison will not be attending the conference this year, so I plan to get it completed before the conference and send it to him. I think he is my dream editor.

The point of this blog is to say that you may be rejected, but keep working.

In all liklihood I’ll be rejected by Harvest House again, but that will not stop me from sending in my story, Absalom’s Beauty.

Note: How did I start the book where I broke a cardinal rule of writing? Here is the first sentence:

“Will you be my Daddy?”

(and believe it or not, this is a military/suspense/romance)

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