Sneak Peeks

Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Appeal of Misery, and Why I Want to Give an Agent the Heimlich Maneuver

     Who are you?

     Who are you?

     Unlike Brian, who came up with that awesome essay in response to Principle Vernon’s question in The Breakfast Club, I have yet to find the short and sweet version of novel description.

     Agent Obi Wan: What is your novel about? Make sure to “intrigue” me in one paragraph or less.

     Unpublished Author: Okay, let’s see...It’s about the universal nature of! The empowering, healing, transformative nature of true! It’s a reimagining of the creation story and theorizes why monsters really do exist... Ummmm... Boy meets girl on alien world?

     Agent Obi Wan: Unfortunately you have failed to capture my attention and I won’t bother reading your (clearly crappy) story. Thank you for your time.

     So, my attempts to woo an agent haven’t been quite that bad, but from the responses I’ve received I assume they’re pretty darn close.

     I have to admit, when it comes to describing a story I’ve written, I choke. Maybe because I’m so deep into the thing that I can’t make out the broader features anymore. I’m beneath the skin, no way to pull back and tell if my creature is pretty or not.

     What I’ve decided is that instead of continuing to bang my head on closed doors, I just need to find an injured agent. Nothing too serious, nothing that would keep them from, say, reading my novels while they recuperate or anything...

     See, I’ve had this fantasy of late, it goes like this: I’m in my hermit cottage in the mountains, á la Kathy Bates. Alone. And I see this little plane fall out of the sky, neeeow boom! I brave a howling blizzard to search for survivors and, low and behold, there’s one. The pilot, who just happens to be an über successful agent out for a spin in her new toy.

     I drag the unfortunate soul back to my lair...err...cottage and bandage her injuries. Alas, the storm has knocked out all radio communication.

     Do the phones work?



     NO! Ahem, no. We’ll just have to stick it out together for a few days. Don’t worry I’ll take care of you. Do you need something to read to pass the time?

     My manifesto would be happily dumped into her lap, after which I’d lurk around outside the door, listening for every gasp and giggle until (dun da daaaa!) she tells me I’m an incredibly brilliant writer and she’ll be crushed if I don’t allow her to represent me.

     Storm ends.

     Agent heals.

     Success and glory rain down on me. Huzzah!!!!

     Okay. That one miiiiight be a little farfetched, but I could totally randomly run across an unfortunate agent, choking on their chicken. People choke on dried out chicken all the time, right? And I’m sure that agents eat chicken now and then. So...

     A hungry agent will be eating their dried out chicken when, gasp! They start choking! Everyone is screaming and standing around with their iPhones, filming her demise while the helpless woman turns blue. Then I step in and, womp! Successful chicken ejector squeeze.

     “You saved my life! I’m eternally in your debt. How can I ever repay you?”

     Well, it just so happens that I have this novel I’d like you to read...

     Of course! I’ll begin it tonight!


     So I’ve written a few agent queries without success. Who hasn’t? You haven’t!? Well, let me be the first to tell you that it’s about an eleven on the difficulty scale. I’ve tried using bits of my blurbs. Nuh uh. I’ve tried mysterious allusions to the deeper subplots. Yawn. First person perspective on the action. REJECT. Focus on the romance. Nope. I’ve even considered stealing the awesome reviews people have written for my self-pub’d books and using those. I seriously love the way readers see the story as a whole, and also hearing what part meant the most to them. I don’t know if anyone else has gotten this before, but when you write something with all of these little subplots and details, and someone gets it, recognizes the big picture, even better than you because you have to be so hung up on each individual piece, it’s magic! It’s the best gift, to see your story through someone else’s eyes.

     So how can I tell someone what they’re going to find in my story?

     It’s a New Adult/Sci Fi Romance, complete at 94,000 words. In it you’ll find a brain, and an athlete, and a basket case, a princess, and a criminal...

     Just read it.

     Read it!

     Read it, or I’ll break it off!!!!

     What does it say about the stress of query writing when a person would rather perform life-or-death exploits than write another letter? Yes, ye virgin query-er, it’s that bad.

     By the way, I heard there’s a bungee jumping expose being held in the Grand Canyon next weekend. I’ll be there with a giant net if anyone’s interested...