Thursday, November 12, 2009

It's not a sprint

It's a marathon, after first completing a slow jog with a dead leg from Bloomsbury to Soho via Dusseldorf.
Or so it seems at the moment.

For anyone wondering if I was alive or not, yes I think I am. And ready to continue the saga of my quest to turn from TV to novels. To continue where I left off, I have now signed with an agent. Not the mega agent but the other good but less high profile one, for reasons that I will now bore you with.
Back in the summer (remember that couple of weeks?) I got line by line notes from mega agent. The other agent had suggested that I alter the structure of the book, and while I understood his reasons, it wouldn't have been the book I wanted to write.
Yes okay, I can hear the snorts of 'prima donna' but hell, I've spent 10 years writing shite at the behest of others and don't want to spend the next ten doing the same.

So I put the other agent on hold and duly did the line by line notes for mega agent who had no concerns about the structure. Soooooooooome time later, I got a reply from mega agent saying she wanted to pass me on to another agent there because she thought it needed more editing for description and this agent was a whizz, and was that okay with me?

In principle it was. Everyone needs a good editor. I think the original title of Mein Kamph was something like 'My four and a half years of struggle against lies, stupidity and cowardice'. I don't think it would have been quite so popular with the original title, possibly because some words have two or more syllables.

But... I was then told (cos I asked) that the suggested agent/whizz editor hadn't yet read the manuscript. I mentioned that there was another agent who wanted to sign me and holding him off was making me a litttle uncomfortable, so a little haste would be appreciated. I got a message back that the suggested agent would read the first 50 pages overnight and get back to me.

Three days later ....... not a dicky. One thing that 10 years in the Tv trenches has taught me is that you go where the love is. By this point I was feeling like the spare prick at a whore's wedding so decided to go where the love was.

I called the agent who wanted to sign me and told him of the problems I had with his notes. He suggested a meeting the next day. The meeting went like this :-

Me - My difficulty is that the notes you gave me would make a great book. Just not the book I want to write.

Agent - The only reason I made those suggestions was it would make it an easier sell. An absolutely archetypcal thriller if you will. Personally I love the book the way it is.

Me- How about I finish the draft I'm working on with the current structure, give it to you for notes and then we put it out to a few publishers for feedback. If it comes back that they want the structure changed, then I'll change it.

Agent - Fine by me.

Forms signed, hands shaken, meeting done. Okay those were the highlights after the chit-chat, but as a synopsis that was pretty much it.

I've just finished the draft and sent it in. Once again awaiting notes, but this time the marathon is extended yet again as the agent is jetting off on holiday for the whole of December, hey ho. Hopefully I'll get the notes back before he goes and can work on the book so it's ready to go out in January.
Did I say via Dusseldorf? Try Tokyo.

Anyway, what did I learn? Well, the fact that mega agent liked the structure gave me the confidence to stick up for it with the agent who suggested I change it, so I can't say that the months of delay before signing was wasted time. And I'm extreamly happy with my agent, well respected agency, a guy you can talk to, loaded with integrity, business savvy, the bees knees.

I learned from my beautiful and talented girlfriend who hooked up with me just before I started this entreprise that, contrary to my own self-image and denial of others opinions, I do indeed have a kamikaze streak and so it's a good job I'm a well hung stud-muffin who's fantastic in bed or I'd be dumped. ( She doesn't know I write this blog so I can get away with a little exaggeration. I don't really think she'd dump me)

I guess the next thing of note will be when and if the book goes to a few select publishers for feedback. There will be another post then for anyone who isn't sick to death of the longest suicide note in history!

44 comments:

terraling said...

Keep it coming, or should I say dribbling, it's good value. Your blog is a vindication of RSS feeds and readers if ever there was one.

Eleanor said...

Yep, I'm enjoying it too.

One day I'll have to get aquainted with RSS feeds and such... Popping by randomly does leave me open to missing stuff I want to read.
Sheesh! I'm a technophobe. *facepalm*

English Dave said...

Good to know a) someone gets enjoyment from my occasional waffle and b) I'm not alone in wondering what an RSS feed is! lol

Janice Okoh said...

yay! so happy for you.

Opera Lady said...

Such an enjoyable read; I hope the book flows as easy :)). Will be back to read about your triumph.

Lesley Bonney said...

Blimey, well done on getting TWO agents interested! Sending mine out this year, gulp.


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Thanks God you're alive...just kidding because I know you will. You still have this mission so not just yet.

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Anonymous said...

So the Mayans say we're all going to die this year, but for tradition sake I decided to write up goals just in case the Mayans were wrong.

So I present my goals for 2012:

1) Read. A lot.
I was able to get 57 read this year and I hope to come close to that again in '12. I don't think I'm going to try and top 57 though. If I do, fine, but I'm not going to kill myself (see goal #8). I just want to try and read some every day.

2) Finish edits for Beneath a Broken Sky.

This one is actually very achievable, because I'm almost done. I just wasn't able to get it done in December. This makes a nice easy thing for my list too :-) I like easy.

3) Edit Dagen's story and get it out to beta readers

I really need to come up with a title for this story. The first draft of it is done. Hopefully in the revisions I can find the perfect title.

4) Finish writing 1 1/2 - 2 more novels

I've already got an idea for a sequel to Dagen's story and I possibly have another I can finish. I don't want to commit to getting 2 novel length stories done because I always seem to run into NaNoWriMo and it breaks my stride.

5) Survive NaNoWriMo

And speaking of NaNoWriMo, unless thing's change, 2012 will be my last NaNoWriMo. Both as an ML and as a participant. I love NaNo. I think it's a wonderful idea and it attracts lovely people, but to tell you the truth I think I've out grown it. I've written a couple novels outside of November, I know I have the discipline to write everyday on my own. I don't need the pressure of NaNo to get me to the finish.
I also like my pattern of writing/editing. I write book B while book A is sitting cooling. Then when book B is done, I go back and edit book A. Then I write a new book and the cycle starts all over again. In the last two years NaNo has fallen out of step with my cycle. I really don't like writing two books back to back. I find it draining. I like going back and forth between editing and writing. To do that I need to be on my own schedule, and November just doesn't fit.

6) Stop fussing over the &@^! blog
I like this blog, but it's driving me a little crazy. Sometimes I just can't come up with two or three posts a week to put up here. And I refuse to put up "filler" stuff. I'm sick of fretting over that. It's just not with the time I spend fussing over it (see goal #8). Especially when I could be spending that creative energy working on my next story.
So I'll be putting up posts when I feel like it. My tentative goal is two or three times a month. I might do more. I might do less.

7) Clean the house more then once every three months
Actually my house isn't quite that bad (mostly). This is more of a balance related goal. I tend to get so focused on one thing that I totally forget everything else. So this year I want to try and keep my life more balanced. I've already started doing this, but I want to continue it through the next year.

8) No Stress (This should really be #1)
This is my over all goal. If a certain activity/person stresses me out, I really need to evaluate if it/they are worth my time and mental energy. The answer will probably be no. Life is just too short to put up with people and things that stress me out and drain my energy.

And I think that's about it. I'm sure I'll come up with something else later, but this is enough for now.

Happy New Years everyone!

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