When you were a little girl, did you ever dream about being Cinderella? You know, playing and singing with the mice and the birds, finding your Prince Charming, and showing those ugly stepsisters that you really were the special one. I know I did--I wanted my own fairy godmother, too. "Bippity-Boppity-Boo!"
Last month, a teacher friend asked me to come and talk to her students about what a "real" writer does. One question she wanted me to answer was, "How much do you write that actually never gets published?" Boy, she was asking the right person! So, while preparing my talk, I decided to include information about how many rejections I had received and how many of my picture book stories were still searching for a home, and so on. But would fourth graders be impressed with my statistics? So, I wanted to find the perfect Cinderella story to wow them and show them that you should never give up on your words.
J.K. Rowling has a great Cinderella story, and she would be somebody that the kids knew had been wildly successful. The story is that J.K. Rowling was a single mom, living on state benefits while she wrote the first Harry Potter manuscript. She got her idea in 1990, wrote for five years (sketching out the other six books, too), and a publisher finally accepted it in 1996 after being turned down by several large publishing companies because the book was too complex for kids! She did have an agent that believed in her--so even with an agent, the rumor is she was rejected 12 times by publishing companies. And you know the rest of this Cinderella story--she is now reported to be worth over 1 billion dollars.
When J.K. Rowling sat in coffee shops writing her novel, do you think she thought she would see Harry Potter on the big screen some day? Really? Sure, we all dream, but we also know that it's tough work. Here are her words explaining this time (from an interview on-line): "I had lots of rejections. But I expected everyone to reject me, so I was already braced for failure. However, I loved Harry so much that I just wanted to get him into print whatever the cost in emotional energy," she said. (From Accio Quote! website)
So, what does all this Harry Potter and Cinderella stuff have to do with you? Well, you really could be the next Cinderella story, couldn't you? With hard work, perseverance, and determination, you could see your beloved characters charming millions of readers. Believe it! And remember. . ."A dream is a wish that your heart makes. . ." (from Cinderella)
Read These Books and Use Them! (blog)
photo by Raymond Brown http://www.flickr.com/