Once I allowed myself to admit that Mort Reed was indeed right and admitted I did have lots and lots to learn about writing fiction, I made the first step of subscribing to Writer’s Digest and devouring the information. I learned quite a bit, but there was still so much missing from my bag of writers tips and tricks.
I took another stab at it. The title was still Dance, Ballerina, Dance. One of the things I didn’t realize was that the fact that she was a ballerina was not the most important thing in the book. It took me years and several rewrites to come to that conclusion The gist of the story was how many times she trusted the wrong people, the strength and support of those who were her true friends, and how many times she was betrayed and hurt mentally and physically. The fact that she didn’t know how strong she really was until she fought to regain herself was very important to the story.
So, on the next go around I was still pretty much sticking to the facts that had inspired me to write it in the first place. At that point I didn’t even consider adding elements and people that had no place in the real story. It was still a long, long manuscript and were I to read that second stab today I would pull it to pieces. There were so many glitches, errors in the timeline, tangents that had no place in the story and the writing was not tight. As I said I would probably have echoed Mort’s words of doom: “This will never get published.”
I sent out some queries following the guidelines in Writers’ Market and Writers’ Digest and, of course, got enough rejection notices to paper a wall. Somewhat discouraged, I put it on the back burner again.
Not too long after that my sister Phyllice Bradner and I decided to take a stab at writing our own mystery series. We were both published in other genres and thought it would be a snap. Well, the concept which was a light, funny mystery series was right on but neither of us really knew the fine points of writing fiction–a much different animal than newspaper articles, magazine articles, cookbooks or ad copy. We had the right idea but the wrong skill set. And Dance, Ballerina, Dance sat untouched on old floppy disks for almost two years.
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