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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Sixty-Three

Joe Hill

The Once and Future King

Zachary Petit

One day, a funny thing happened: An unknown, frustrated writer named Joe Hill got an envelope in the mail.

A small one.

He’d been sending his short stories to The Atlantic for a while now, and thought he was getting close to breaking in. The rejection letters usually came in big envelopes containing his manuscript, but this one was different: It was small. Like, say, something you’d mail a check in.

Hill was married at the time, and he ducked into a pay phone to call his wife.

“I said, ‘I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I think I just sold a story to The Atlantic—I’m going to rip the letter open and I’m going to read it to you right now—”

She said she was so proud, so excited, ...

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