Saturday, September 29, 2007


Today I took the Marta train to mid-town Atlanta and walked a half block to the former home of Margaret Mitchell at Peachtree and 10th. The one hour tour taught me a lot about Mitchell that I didn't know. She loved life, had a great sense of humor, and was a relative of Doc Holiday. From childhood on, she wrote stories and was one of the first women journalists at the Atlanta Journal.

Encouraged by her husband, Mitchell started to write a novel. She was still rewriting it, when she met Harold Latham from McMillan Publishing Company at a literary luncheon in 1935. He was in Atlanta, scouting for new talent and asked her if she had a novel. For whatever reason,(possibly fear) Mitchell told him she didn't have a thing.

Later Latham packed his suitcase and began to check out of the hotel. Margaret Mitchell rushed in with seventy envelopes, holding a chapter a piece. She handed him the envelopes, saying, "Take the @&## thing before I change my mind."

Latham bought another suitcase and carried the manuscript back with him.

Gone With The Wind was published the next year. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize and later was made into a motion picture movie.

An editor may not come up to you at a luncheon and ask if you are working on a novel. But know this--I've never met an editor that wasn't looking for a new voice. That voice could be yours. Are you ready?

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