Ten writers for children. All with something to say.


The Three Scrooges

I have three short scrooge stories. The first scrooge experience happened when I told my mom that I was planning on writing children's books. She immediately answered, "You can't do that." It was such a surprising response from my usually supportive mom and it took a lot of courage for me to answer her, "You can't talk to me like that mom. I need your support." When she realized what she had said, she immediately apologized and has been positive ever since.

My second scrooge moment happened at the hands of my mentor, who is no longer alive. When she saw the artwork for Zoom! she said that she didn't like it and that the book seemed a little too simple to her. I was devastated and it took quite awhile to recover from those remarks. Truly, I wish she had lied to me. It was my first book and it would have meant the world to me if she had simply said congratulations.

My third scrooge event came in the form of a letter from a well-known editor. Before I was published I sent her a manuscript to look at and she replied in a very short note that her publishing house only published special books and that mine was not! Ouch!! It helped that she sent a fellow writer a similar letter, and it actually had the least sting as my friend and I laughed and laughed about that charming editor and her sharp quill.

So there you have it. Three scrooges - one reformed, one no longer alive, and one still writing those lovely rejection notes.


Christy said...

Moe, Larry, and Curly; I remember them well!

These stories make me think of the importance of being slow to make judgements or criticisms. It takes no time at all to tear down confidence that has built up little by little over a long time.

Edie Hemingway said...

I love your humorous twist on the Three Scrooges! And I empathize with you every step of the way. It's amazing how quickly one remark can tear someone apart when it takes many positive remarks to build someone up.

Lauren said...

Diane- From the three Stooges to the three Scrooges is a very clever way to look at these three events in your writing life. I am glad your mom saw the light-- mom's have no idea the power they yield! And mentors-- like mom's, forget the power they have. Would it have been a lie to simply say "congratulations?" Sometimes the extra criticisms are not necessary. And those biting quills from editors can hurt- I am glad you recovered and kept going.

Mark said...

There are so many ways to quash a creative spirit. I'm so glad you didn't allow these three scrooges to divert you from your true path, Diane. Well, two scrooges really: at least with Mom you could call her on it, and she apologized!!

Stephanie said...

I'm so glad you didn't let them stop you. I remember always classifying my rejection letters into good and bad. But your mentor? Yikes. I'd rather have had a lie too:)

Diane Adams said...

Stephanie, I believe that you knew my mentor. She was a person of great power, and she helped me in many ways, but when she didn't like something, she really gave it to you! Thankfully, our friend Katherine was there to pick up the pieces when it happened. So was my mom - God bless her!!

I learned a great lesson from that. Don't be so quick to want to meet those whom you admire. Sometimes it's simply nice to view them from a distance. :)

David LaRochelle said...

Good for you for standing up to your mom, Diane, and good for her for apologizing.
As far as your mentor, I've learned it isn't helpful to be critical of a friend's book that has already been published (or a friend's play that has already been staged, etc.). I agree with everyone else in that your mentor should have had the wisdom to simply say "Congratulations."