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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Portents of doom

This isn't the thing about my writing I promised -- that probably won't come until this weekend -- but it's certainly a portent.

Darren,

I did read your material. In fact, just processed it all recently.

I think you have a fertile mind, but I think your material is in need of an amount of editing I'm not prepared to give right now -- I just don't have time given my full plate.

If you should generate something in the future, I'd be happy to consider reading something else down the road.

Thanks for your patience.

Best of luck with your material.

Best Regards,

Some Dickhead Agent Who Doesn't Know His Ass From a Hole In The Ground


So, you know... there.

I'm getting the distinct impression I really don't write all that well after all.

::sigh:: Call center for the rest of my life.

If I weren't engaged to the finest woman in the entire universe, I suspect I'd be deeply depressed right now.

5 Comments:

At 10:55 AM , Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

Having received, to date, over 150 rejections from agents (some with their heads farther up their asses than others), PLEASE, PLEASE don't lose faith in your writing.

You're a wonderful writer, and you've only gotten better since what I've read from you in college.

As you probably know intellectually, an agent's primary job is to make money - for himself. It's about marketing, and not you.

Consider yourself lucky to get a personalized rejection letter. This does show that he thought enough of your writing to respond himself and in a lengthy way.

Nearly all of mine have been form letters.

To quote Churchill (I think this was from him) NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER give up.

 
At 2:33 PM , Blogger Highlander said...

L,

Thanks for the very kind words. I get this same level of encouragement, even more often and more vociferously, from SuperFiancee. It's always lovely to hear. And I know agents (and publishers) have other agendas besides simply recognizing talent.

Nonetheless, I'm looking to become a published author, and not only that, but a commercially successful one (my dream is not about being discovered five years after I starve to death in a garrett; I want to be the next Dean R. Koontz, except, you know, I want smart, literate people to be able to read my work without vomiting).

To that extent, what I seem to be learning is that however wonderful a writer I am, I simply do not have competitive chops. Or, if I did, you'd think there would be someone out there willing to exploit my talent for their personal gain.

And I wouldn't mind, if they'd only pay me something more than I'm making at a call center while they do it.

As to the personalized rejection letter, well, a guy I used to hang out with back in Tampa had his first novel published through this agent, and I begged for an intro, and he gave me one, which let me bypass the usual form letters and slush piles. In the end, though, rejection is rejection, even if the rejecter takes the time to type out a brief email themselves.

It's discouraging. But I'm still a lucky lucky man, and I know that.

Thanks again for the support. For the record, you're a better writer than I am.

 
At 10:32 AM , Blogger Opus P. Penguin said...

H: thanks for your last comment. Now if I could kick my own ass into doing something about it.

Re you, though: Perhaps there is competitive stuff under there but all the agents and editors I read tell of this topic claim that they don't have time to look for it, and it is increasingly up to the writer to produce a finished, marketable product. It set me back a bit (and I was much more flush then), but I took one manuscript to a professional editor and she taught me a lot about tightening up my writing and making the plot and characters more compelling, leading (at least in her vision) to a more marketable manuscript. If you don't have the slush for an editor, there are a lot of good books on the topic. The best one is John Gardner's "The Art of Fiction." Takes some discipline to toss what you might think is your best stuff, but you get used to it.

 
At 11:57 AM , Anonymous The Always esteemed Scott said...

I want to be the next Dean R. Koontz, except, you know, I want smart, literate people to be able to read my work without vomiting).

So you're aiming for the smart, literate market? That's what, 100 people? :)
All kidding aside - the fact that Dean Fucking Koontz is a best selling author should tell you all you need to know about how important *talent* is in getting published.
Along the same lines, I'm currently reading a book by Peter F. Hamilton (The Reality Dysfunction). Hamilton has some very interesting ideas about the future of technology and its impact on human culture, and is a pretty decent worldbuilder.
But. He's a *terrible* writer. His characters are wooden, his dialogue is atrocious, and his pacing is, well, the word plodding doesn't do it justice.
And he's published, like a dozen novels.
I know I'm not telling you anything you don't already know at some level. You're a vastly better writer than Dean Fucking Koontz or Peter F. Hamilton. Whatever is keeping you from getting published, it's not that you lack talent. If I had to guess, you lack *luck*.
And I gotta figure that sooner or later, the universe will tilt in your favour. Please don't give up.

 
At 7:39 PM , Blogger Highlander said...

L,

Yeah, but I tend to regard 'professional editors' and such as being more of those folks who have found their niche playing on the hopes and dreams of we wannabes. I guess they provide a service, but I like to think I'm as good an editor as any of them are likely to be, and I certainly know what's marketable and what isn't. Still, I appreciate the advice.

Scott,

Yeah, I'm aware I need to get lucky. But professional luck doesn't seem to be something I have in excess (or I wouldn't have spent so much time in call centers). Still, we need to keep hoping, I know. And certainly, I'm at least as good a writer as many out there making money, and better than many others... I just need to convince a real publisher of that.

 

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