I've received plenty of rejections in my writing life. But the best one ever came from Steve Meltzer at Dutton Children's Books.
I sent Mr. Meltzer an early draft of my Valentine's Day manuscript (when the chase still went around the globe, and the Valentine still jumped into a volcano). He responded with a revision request, and in his letter he asked me if I had been trying to do a fractured version of the Gingerbread Man story.
The Gingerbread Man??? That thought had never even crossed my mind!
My initial reaction was that this editor obviously didn't get what I was trying to do. Gingerbread Man stories were sweet and a little boring. I was trying to be edgy and fun. But then I went to the library and read every fractured Gingerbread tale I could find. THE STINKY CHEESE MAN was my favorite. And it inspired me to think I could write a fractured fairy tale and still be edgy.
So I went to work. Thinking in this new Gingerbread Man framework was the key to my success. When I sent Mr. Meltzer the revised manuscript, I had a really good feeling. I knew I had written something saleable. And when the phone rang five weeks later and the caller id said New York Call, my heart practically leaped out of my chest.
Mr. Meltzer has a kind soul, and the first thing he said to me was that he was not calling with good news. But he went on to say that he absolutely loved my revision. And that he had to take a pass on the story only because they had already contracted for a number of fractured Gingerbread Man stories at Dutton. He also said he thought another house would snap my manuscript up right away. (Turns out it was three years later, but who's counting?)
So thanks, Steve Meltzer! Thanks for the Gingerbread Man idea. And thanks for calling!
Have you received any really great rejections? Tell me about them in the comments!!