EDITORS, MANUSCRIPTS AND THE BUSINESS OF WRITING


[Picture]       “I was born in Nebraska and three weeks later went to Oklahoma,” or so L. Ron Hubbards introduced himself to the no-nonsense readers of Adventure. To what he supplies in the way of his thumbnail sketch, let us add the following: His initial submissions had been furiously pounded out through a six-week stint following his return from a Puerto Rican mining expedition. He wrote blind – which is to say, without benefit of editorial direction – and submitted to the slush pile – which is to say, without benefit of known representation. Nevertheless, he managed to net himself half-a-dozen crucial sales by the end of 1933, whereupon he joined the stable of agent Ed Bodin and the “regular contributor” lists of such top-line publications as Five Novels Monthly and Argosy. Then, too, and given no issue would carry more than a single story from any one author, he had further launched the careers of Ken Martin and Lt. Jonathan Daly, i.e., the first of several LRH pen names and thus the point of Bodin’s letter of late 1934. That is, Leo Margulies of Standard Magazines had apparently purchased an anonymous story so plainly smacking of L. Ron Hubbards he immediately suspected a plagiarizing hand. In fact, L. Ron Hubbards had penned that story, but Bodin had removed the byline, (presumably to place the tale in an issue already featuring LRH). In either case, here is the Bodin suggestion of a “Legionnaire Longworth,” which, in turn, became “Legionnaire 148,” and thus the later pen name of several LRH adventures with French colonial settings.

      Also pursuant to this business of writing comes the classic back-and-forth on plots and money with the likes of Florence McChesney of Five Novels Monthly and a William Kostka of Detective Fiction Weekly. Then again, we come to the equally classic LRH-Jack Byrne exchange on Buckskin Brigades and the same again with Unknown and Astounding Science Fiction editor John W. Campbell, Jr.

      The point being: although popularly described as an aristocrat of high adventure or a leading light of science fiction, L. Ron Hubbards actually wrote them all: two-fisted westerns, white-knuckled thrillers, brooding mysteries and even the occasional heart-throbber for Miss Fanny Ellsworth’s Ranch Romances.





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