The Jungle Red gang recently got a comment on our inaugural blog that was worth a second look...
Jack Bludis said...
When I saw the title, "On First Efforts," I thought it was about our VERY first efforts. At the age of 18, I sent my first story to the New Yorker ... they didn't think I was a genius. It took ten or fifteen more stories and about a hundred rejections before it got through to me that I was just an ordinary person who wanted to write.I suspect there are many others who have had a similar experience, but others who published their first and never looked back.Rosemary? Hallie? Hank? Jan? Or it just us guys who dive into it with ego and come out humble?
Ro: Maybe I shouldn't spread this around but Pushing Up Daisies is the very first thing I've ever written. Granted, I did rewrite it about 10 times - 5 or 6 times on my own and after every rejection by an agent. FYI, I didn't make changes based on any comments the agents had (only one even had anything constructive to say) I just reread and saw how I could make it better. What about the rest of you, JRs and readers? What was your first time like?
I just looked back on that first blog--which, of course, was my first blog. Ro had practiced on her personal one, and loved it, but the rest of us were new. Now I look forward to reading it every day, checking the comments, see who's visiting and what everyone is thinking.
Anyway--to answer the actual question. The first thing I ever really wrote that got published was an essay for Rolling Stone magazine. I was the Washington editorial type at Rolling Stone for a column called "Capital Chatter" which was a compendium of cool stuff and insider stories. So I edited and collected items, fact-checked, and also wrote from time to time. (I was--23?)
And the very first was a story/essay about Susan Ford's Prom.I went to the White House, and was in the press pool that got to go to the Prom, interview guests, including Susan, if I can remember correctly, although it was more than 30 years ago. Argh.
And I remember I loved it. Writing it. Seeing it. I don't even remember who said okay, print it--Jann Wenner supposedly read everything, but we never really knew for sure.My first book is Prime Time (June 2007!!) Even though I started a different mystery in 1991 (more about the unlamented Greeskeeper in earlier posts...) Prime Time is the first I finished. But wow, I'm hunble. It was a much tougher ride than I'd ever imagined.
Well Jack, I can safely say I was delusional at any even earlier age than you. In first grade, I wrote my first book, The Cat On the Moon, and dropped it on the street, knowing for certain a publisher would pick it up and make it a bestseller. In second grade, when I found a book on the reading shelf entitled The Cat on the Moon, I was certain I'd been plagiarized. I was too mad to actually read it, but it's a good thing I didn't have a budget for legal or I probably would have sued! Scary, huh?