Her ten minute slot with the big-time editor at the conference was nearing. Her hands were cold and clammy, and her stomach churned. I can’t do it, she thought and tried to leave. But a woman with tears streaming down her cheeks burst out of the tiny office and blocked her way.
“Next!” boomed the voice from inside. The line pushed her into the close room. “Well”, he said. “Get on with it.” He wore spectacles, mutton chop sideburns, a frumpy suit, and a frown.
Her throat tightened, but she managed to squeak out a few words. “Mr. Evil Editor, I’d like for you to consider my book. It’s my first, and I’m very proud of it.”
“Never tell an editor it’s your first book.”
She looked at her shoes and thought about leaving.
“I’ve put a lot of work into it. It’s 175,000 words.”
“Christ on a crutch! A debut book that long? Forget it.”
“What genre is it?” he asked.
“Sorry. Historical fiction is out now, particularly about America.”
“It’s American, but I’m sure it will be a best seller, and the movie will be even better!” she countered.
“That’s what every wannabe writer things. So far you’re oh-for-four.”
Her cheeks burned, and she turned for the door.
“Wait”, he called. “Who is your protagonist?”
“She’s vain, selfish, and deceitful. She steals her sisters’ boy friends and tries to run off with her best friend’s husband. She lies, steals, and even kills.”
“Oh, great,” he sneered. “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”
She felt a shock ripple through her body, and she turned quickly and reached for the door knob.
“I’m sorry Miss…..Miss…. What is your name? I’m evil but not mean.”
“Margaret Mitchell. And that’s OK, but I’ve got some writing to do.”