Edith Wharton first attempted a novel at the tender age of eleven: "'Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Brown?' said Mrs. Tompkins," it began. "'If only I had known you were going to call, I should have tidied up the drawing room.'"
Young Edith proudly showed her mother the work -- and received only one comment in return: "Drawing rooms are always tidy."
[Wharton is widely credited with inventing the concept of interior design.]