You know how people will talk up a new haunted house until you’re terrified? You try to chicken out, but your friends won’t let you. They drag you inside and you’re convinced every corner you turn will be your last, until about halfway through you pry open your eyelids and realize – “Wait a minute. This isn’t that scary after all.”

That was my editor appointment at the writer’s conference.

Much like the agent appointment, Mr. Long took my onesheet after introductions and spent some time reading it while I determined to make time pass faster by holding my breath. Didn’t work.

He finished the onesheet and asked for the synopsis. This was no problem as I had around twenty copies of my synopsis in my folder along with ten copies of the first three chapters, and thirty onesheets. I am not (nor have I ever been) a boy scout, but I had taken their motto to heart.

“Would you like the first three chapters? A business card? A list of actors who might play the leading role in the movie version?”

Instead he asked me questions about the synopsis. Insightful questions. He wondered about the timing of the plot. He had questions about the heroine and the development of her character. I was starting to have fun. I loved my story and didn’t mind talking about it one bit. Better yet, he didn’t seem disappointed with my answers.

Time was up. He gave me permission to send him the first fifty pages of the manuscript and we were done.

I was thrilled, but I had to remind myself that of the agents and editors who’d requested first pages (I also met some during our meals) not one had read a single word of the actual manuscript. They liked the onesheet and the synopsis, but you don’t put those on the bookstore shelves. Still, I was there looking for encouragement and at that stage I’d got all I could have hoped for.

So I headed to the airport with a pocketful of business cards from new friends – a few who’d be receiving a big, fat attachment from me. I was anxious to get home, do a final edit of the first pages and get them sent off because in less than two weeks I was leaving for Africa.

An Unexpected Request – Publication Story, Part 6

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