Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Quote of the Blog:

"Fiction can deal with all the world's objects and ideas together, with the breadth of human experience in time and space; it can deal with things the limited disciplines of thought either ignore completely or destroy by methodological caution, our most pressing concerns: personality, family, death, love, time, spirit, goodness,evil, destiny, beauty, will." --Annie Dillard, Living by Fiction's a good, strange morning let me tell you.

The good? Truthfully, counter to my nature,I ought to be in an anxious, foul mood. I just have to say I hope my dear agent doesn't read his clients' blogs. Because right now, I'm not feeling so great about our relationship. I know agents get a bum rap for a variety of hodge-podge reasons. They don't work hard enough. They charge too much in fees. They don't know their markets. They were over-confident...blah blah blah. I think my agent has just recently come into a realization of what he really likes to represent...and it isn't fiction, and even if it was fiction, it isn't my kind of fiction. Just like other areas in my life that have always fallen into a middle area (my bra size, my shoe size, my High School grade point average...) apparently now my fiction is a hybrid beast that doesn't quite fit any existing niche out there in what is being termed, yet again a "bad market." You know that line you get from a boy/girlfriend about three months before they dump you? "It's not you, it's just's hard times..." Yeah, well that's how "It's not your writing,it's the market" feels.

The problem is, dear agent was SUPER CONFIDENT that I had done such a super stellar amazing good rewrite. Why didn't he anticipate any of the problems that the publisher responses are garnering? What he is now, suddenly calling, "The fundamental problems with the manuscript." Here are its problems, in "his" own words (I suspect these are the words of publishers, known for their warm, fuzzy thoughts):

"I think the problem with this ms. is more fundamental than just making the age change. The problem is it undercuts itself in two ways: it's a very realist manuscript in style, yet has a more fantastical premise at its core;yet also the premise suggests a more upbeat, chick lit type novel but the texture in reality is quite serious and the story is mostly about substance abuse. So what should be a commercial read is too dark in tone to compete with the high-concept chick lit books yet it doesn't quite fit in the with the more serious literary fiction either. I don't know how to get around this, honestly."

Here's the rub. He told me when he read my rewrite (eight months in the making) that he thought it was great because nothing had been really written about substance abuse in this format. He thought it was well-balanced, not too dark, not too fluffy. So all I can say is AAAAARRRRGGGGG. I'm not holding it against him personally, entirely, I know at this moment I am a non money-maker for him. In fact, if this goes the same route I'll be owing him some copying fees shortly. But hey, there's always Pocket Books, which also expressed interest in my first novel, but just sort of never got back to us...Why doesn't he push?? Of all my agented friends in process with their agent submitting their manuscripts, only one of us has gotten a bite, and even she is still waiting for it to maybe it's true that the market really is bad, and that we're all brilliant and undiscovered, diamonds in the rough, who can laugh at these hard times ten years from now.

For now I'm just refusing to let the agent news get me down. I have plenty more novels inside me, Simon & Schuster and Pocket Books are still holding the manuscript and well, it will happen when it happens.

Okay, so now for some good news. NFG Magazine has finally accepted my short story, "Who Are You, Really?" after NINE months plucked from the slush. THAT is patience, my friends. I withheld simultaneously submitting that one because NFG has an unusual process that keeps you slavering and at their mercy like a dog. They have an online upload website whereby, once it makes it through the gatekeepers, editors log on and post their comments with a "yea" or "nay" approach to your story. You need at least 5 editors to yea it before the Senior editor, Shar, will buy it or not. So from December of last year on I've logged into that site probably two or three times a day (the truth is ugly, I know). It's a paying print mag, so YIPPEE.

The question of the Reporter position will be answered later this week. I had quite the grueling interview, I feel. I think I handled myself quite well, articulately and with conviction. But I hate, hate, hate interviews. I think I even hate informal interviews that are about me for press of any kind. I did pretty well, but it was exhausting and then you come away not knowing. But I have decided that, in truth I have a very good job with very good people currently, and whatever happens, I will be okay.

COUNTDOWN: 19 days until My Birthday about some stats? Keep in mind that some of the accepts/rejects may not have actually been subbed in the month of July...

  • July Submissions: 23
  • July Acceptances: 4 (this is quite a high number, statistically!)
  • July Rejections: 9


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