A good friend of mine C. Robert Cargill is a screen writer who spends a lot of his time on Twitter (@massawrym) mentoring writers. The biggest themes in his mentoring include: being disciplined and never giving up. I wanted to share my story to help emphasize theme of never giving up.
My story begins in the early 80’s. In the early 80’s I, like many other writers, discovered the game Dungeons & Dragon. I was a player and eventually became a dungeon master. As the mid 80’s rolled around I got deeper into the game and eventually started to go to D&D conventions that occurred throughout the Los Angeles area. Along with attending D&D conventions I felt the urge to write about the game I truly loved. I had a goal: I wanted to be published in either Dragon (the O.G. of D&D magazines) or Dungeon (a new magazine dedicated to short one adventures).
My first submission was an adventure for the new magazine called Dungeon:
Here you can see my 1st submission being SOUNDLY REJECTED…
Being the ever diligent adventurer (writer) I didn’t give up. I started work almost immediately on my next article. This one would be for Dragon Magazine and had the title “Before First Level”. This one took a long time and I was proud of the work. When I was done I printed it on the good old dot-matrix printer in computer science class (APPLE IIe and submitted it to Dragon Magazine c/o TSR Hobbies.
It took forever to get a response. Oh no, it was another rejection…. But WAIT! This time the rejection letter had a NOTE. Check it out…
Yup I received praise from the Editor in Chief…. The one and only Roger Moore (no not James Bond) He said I had talent. WOW this was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. I persevered. While I waited to hear from Dragon Magazine, I became a member of the RPGA (Role Playing Gamers Association). The RPGA had a newsletter called Polyhedron. Oh boy yet another place I could possibly get published….
I soon went to work putting together a submission for Polyhedron. My 1st article for Poly was called “Solutions to the Monty Haul” campaign.
I soon received a letter from Jean Rabe the editor in chief of Polyhedron. She rejected the article:
She also suggested I flesh out one of the threads in the article… I chose an idea related to taxes. I called it “The Role of Taxes” This one was put together on a typewriter and submitted to Polyhedron. Sometime later I received a note from Jean… CONGRATULATIONS we will be printing your article in a future issue of Polyhedron.
My 1st (non-professional) article was published in Issue #38 of Polyhedron. Here’s the table of contents with a shot of the cover and the text of the printed article..
This publication occurred in 1987 and it took me nearly 5 more years before I got paid to write. Now I didn’t stop writing I just had stuff like college take over a bit. In my next part I’ll talk about college and how I became a professional writer.