In Which I Wonder If I Can Take It As Well As Dish It Out

I read about a new(ish) London-based Literary Agency recently, and so last week I sent off some sample chapters of my completed novel ‘Human Noises’ and other bits of ‘please think about representing me’ material to them. And so the waiting begins.

I’ve had… well, let’s say ‘mixed experiences’ with contacting Literary Agents before – to the extent that m’colleague and I used to have a running competition to see who could get the most disappointing response; he won, though whether you could consider that a victory in the strict sense is certainly open to debate.

When the novel’s being mulled over, I always tend to adhere to the idea that no news, as per the cliché, will be good news – within reason. For the first couple of months, I can delude myself that people are meeting in boardrooms and banging their fists on tables as they shout about the bidding war for TV and Film Rights, but after a while I have to accept that the chances are it’s a no – as the ex-Literary Agent Betsy Lerner put it, “No one reads a manuscript, loves it, and doesn’t call the author”. Very true.

Still, while I’m waiting to hear, I shall plug on with the current writing, can’t have all my chocolate eggs in one basket and all that.

In related news: over the course of the weekend, I had the pleasure of reading a short screenplay script by Dom, which was both fun to read and an interesting exercise, as one of the first – and very worst – things which people do when commenting on something someone else’s work is to automatically start thinking of how they would have written it. Which isn’t even close to useful – what I want from people who read my work is a genuine appraisal of which bits work, which bits don’t, what needs to be clarified or dropped, and things like that; not a wholesale rewrite (unless the grammar and structure is worse than I could possibly fear) to make it read like someone else’s work.

Whilst I’m not going to delude myself that I’m likely to challenge the likes of people like Lucy and Lianne, who will both read scripts for you and give you an analysis (tell them I sent ya), I have to say that I enjoyed reading and reviewing Dom’s script, as it meant trying to make sure I can use proper words and terms (though, I hope, not jargon) to explain my thoughts about something which can often seem quite nebulous and tricky to describe. Here’s hoping Dom finds my remarks (which I’ve e-mailed over, Dom) useful.

Of course, I may well be less willing to ‘take it’ if the agency gets back to me with a list of brutal but true reasons why ‘Human Noises’ is a pile of pants, but as I say, at the moment, I’m dreaming of the early-morning meetings where high-powered people argue over who gets me as a client.

Yes, yes, I know – but let me dream for a bit, eh ?

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1 Comment

  1. Yep, I guess I did win that contest didn’t I ? I’m so proud, I’ve never won anything before !

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