The Writer’s Weekend

Writer’s Weekend. I went. Aberdeen, benevolent and sneaky, registered Othello and I, transported Othello, Bridgette, and myself to Seattle for the binge, and housed us. She did several other things, but we’ll get to them presently.

Aberdeen is going to be represented in my household by a small altar covered with votive offerings and prayers of freshly-created text. Godhood is the least I can offer her, in my current mental state. Her virtues run me clean out of metaphor, simile, and hyperbole, a resource I previously presumed inexaustable.

And, she brought moose.

Writer’s Weekend is a several-day conference attended by authors, agents, and editors. There are panels, there are workshops, there is much, much networking. It was something that, if I had attended last year, I would not have been ready to use appropriately. This year is the first I was ready for what it could offer, to some degree. That is, I have no book written, but am writing and continuing to write, so was prepared to make use of the panels, the workshops, the networking.

The networking. Ah.

Normally, the process of acquiring an agent goes this way: One sends in a query letter pitching a book one has written, and the agent may (if interested) request the first three chapters for reading. Possibly the first three chapters and a synopsis. If those chapters read well, the agent will say so and ask for the complete manuscript. If that reads well, the agent will consent to represent the author, and the pimping to editors begins.

There was a particularly puissant agent, Evan Fogleman, who spoke on several panels. He is very straightforward, perfectly willing to speak his mind, and said, several times, that he does not generally entertain manuscripts that are not complete; too many authors write part of a book and never finish.

Aberdeen got me an appointment to pitch to Evan.

She and I discussed him at some length, and agreed that, some years from now, after I had two or three books in print, Evan would be an excellent agent for me, and I a client for him. We agreed that the best that could happen in the appointment was that he would critique my pitching style, perhaps on the storyline I presented, and would remember me next year when I actually had something for him.

That would be pretty good stuff; validation from a highly-sought-after professional in the field plus contact. So, I pitched.

He said: “You’ve got a great story. Your characters sound really interesting, and your subplots work for it. You sound like you have the pacing for the book, and I really like how you’re ending it. Finish it and send it to me.” Then he pulled out a card, flipped it over, and wrote the mailing address to his NY desk.

“Send it to me.” Not “send me the first 3 and a synopsis.”

I managed not to fall on him with kisses and praise, weeping joyous tears the while. Barely.

Bridgette was waiting in the hall, and we had some happy jumping up and down time. Then I began to bibble, and (I found out later) she stepped out and retrieved Aberdeen, who joined me in the jumping and clapping, and I told my happy news to Othello and some other friends and a couple of strangers that I managed to buttonhole. The remainder of the weekend was spent a full foot off the ground.

The motto since then, recited with a broad grin, is “Evan wants a complete”, meaning manuscript.

I worked out my plan for writing the book, working titled A Feel For Death; I will rise an hour early each day, shower and make coffee, sit down in my robe at the computer, and write. I will not get people up for work/school. I will not do all the fiddlin’ things that need doing in the morning. I will write. My goal for now is 1,000 words per day, but that is just a target. What I would like is to increase to 2,500 reliably, writing morning and an hour in the evenings.

But. For right now, the goal is to sit and write and approach 1,000 daily. At that pace, the book is written and edited and mailed by October 12. Good enough. Good enough.

Get it written.

Get it edited.

Get it mailed.

Simple. This morning I began, falteringly, but began nonetheless. There are words on paper, and I am .5% done with the first draft. I know who the characters are, and what happens to them, and where they are going. Three or four months of perserverance will do the rest.


Crossposted from Epinepherine & Sophistry