I’ve written three novels, a Broadway musical and countless humor pieces for The New Yorker. What? You’ve never heard of my comic novels PMS: Post Marital Syndrome and Animal Cracker? You missed Ambulance Chasing for Love, my contribution to Shouts and Murmurs? You’re wondering now, as I do daily, Am I Losing My Mind?
Relax. These are some of my UNPUBLISHED works. Join me now on my journey to publication.
You’re thinking, How does she know she’ll get published? Happily, there’s now a viable self-publication industry out there, so anyone who’s really determined can see his or her work in print. It’s the last-resort solution for every writer, including me.
My goal, though, is to do it the old-fashioned way: secure an agent, who will a) find me a brand-name publisher who will b) pay me a big fat advance and c) promote the hell out of the book and d) negotiate the movie rights. With points. Starring Alec Baldwin.
So who is this journeywoman writer? I’m a fifty-eight-year-old divorced Jewish mother of two with a good job in the Boston area. I started writing fiction about twelve years ago. Everyone wondered how I found the time to write with a full-time job and kids then three and eight. Two words: menopause and divorce. Waking up at five every morning afforded me time to write, as did my kids’ absence when they were at their dad’s a few days a week.
I’ve studied fiction writing at the University of Iowa Summer Writing Festival, and I’ve also taken Robert McKee’s story seminar; both were invaluable, and each led to a major rewrite of my current novel, Animal Cracker.
I’ve actually rewritten it at least six times. After each rewrite, I’ve shopped it around to agents. I’ve always managed to get some initial interest, with several requests for the full manuscript under my belt. But then, they always say it’s not quite there.
I think it’s there now. So next week, I’m attending an Agent-Author Seminar at the Backspace Writer’s Conference in New York. It’s a two-day event, the first dedicated to query letters and the second to first pages. It’s expensive, so I’m just attending the second. Literary agents will critique opening pages, and, if they like them, may ask to read more.
I subjected myself to a trial run last week at an event called Writer's Idol at the Boston Book Festival. Victims submitted their first 250 words, and a panel of agents raised their hands at the point when they'd stop reading if this work crossed their desks. They raised their hands after my first (cringe) two sentences. But...they were right! Those sentences were awful, and, after licking my wounds, I rewrote the entire opening section, and it's vastly superior to what went before. New York agents, I'm ready!
I hope to find the time to blog from there. I also hope to find the time to do a little consignment store and discount shoe shopping. Yeah, I may write about other stuff from time to time – movies, travel, knitting, my hair…okay, forget the hair. Till New York….