Don’t expect your first story to sell. Those are the words of wisdom that we experienced writers pass on to beginners. And I have to admit that my first manuscript is still just mine. And I have no plans to submit it. After all, I was new and it is pretty horrid.
But then I read an article on rebus writing. Rebus, for those of you who aren’t in the know, are short pieces for pre-readers. Some of the nouns are removed with pictures taking their places. The pre-reader can then decipher the words represented by pictures and read. I wrote a rebus and sent it to Ladybug. “The Flying Contest” was my first sale. First rebus. First sale. I’ve never been able to sell another or anything else to Ladybug for that matter.
Then I sent READ a pitch for a nonfiction article on distance swimmer Gertrude Ederle. “Can you write it as reader’s theater?” Sure! After learning all about reader’s theater, I wrote “Gertrude Ederle vs the English Channel.” It sold but I got rejections on my next attempt.
Last summer, I was doing some reading on the treadmill. I can access magazines electronically through my library so I caught up on Highlights Hello! and High Five. Inspired by Hello, I walked and played around with the rhythms of various words and phrases. It took some playing around, okay I lot of playing around, but I eventually had roughed a humorous poem called “Tiger Cat.” Tuesday I got word that it had told to Highlights Hello.
My very first manuscript will never sell. In fact I probably have my first ten manuscripts sitting around here gathering dust. (Ten is a kind, conservative estimate.) But first manuscripts in a new type of writing? Those seem to be a good thing for me.
Of course, my husband has made a suggestion. “What about trying a block buster series?” Wise guy.