Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Telling Write From Wrong (Part 14)

Finding An Agent Is Just Peachy

Photograph copyright: DAVID McMAHON

These are two long overdue replies to two bloggers who are in the middle of writing books. Deborah Gamble hasn't found an agent yet, but she gave us a sneak peek of her work at Don't Run Away With Cows Unless Of Course .... She wrote:

Can you tell all the rejections from agents are already getting me down?

Debbie, all you need is one agent or publisher to say ``I like this.'' And then your whole world changes. Let's be perfectly frank, there is no better motivation than having someone who is keen to publish your work. I was just lucky, because I stumbled into a publishing contract with Penguin even before I had an agent.

But I take heart from your sentence, ``Pity party over''. I know you have thrown yourself into continuing with your manuscript. You have already got people (including me) signing up to buy your book and that can only be a good thing. Don't let the rejection slips get to you. Legend has it that one US writer used the hundreds of rejection slips as wallpaper - and used that as his inspiration.

I also heard from Anne Creed at Novel Struggles. She said:

The best way you can help is with encouragement and insight. Right now I'm trying to brainstorm scenes and other pre-writing preparation before I start. How do you get started - and how do you continue? All advice is much appreciated.

Anne, I find your pre-planning extremely interesting, because I work very differently. I don't sit down and plan a chapter to the nth degree. I know which charcters are going to be in the chapter, where they are and what they'll be doing, but I just write the story as it unfolds in my head. In my case, the best creative instinct comes when I sit in front of my keyboard and one idea just leads to another and one sentence just leads to another.

A lot of film directors work just as you do - by ``blocking'' every sequence before the cameras roll. It works for them and there's no reason why it won't work for you. But if you find you're getting bogged down because you can't brainstorm a whole scene, try writing instinctively. I'd be really interested to know which approach works better for you.


Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

I can only create at the keyboard, put a pad and pen in front of me and my mind goes blank! It's frustrating when I'm away, but I've come to accept it. I don't get that movie running through my head without my laptop! Everyone is different, it's finding what works for you that counts.

david mcmahon said...

Hi Carol,

Yep - that's it - it's all about finding what works for you. I do a lot of my writing with music cranked up fairly loud as well.

The music is peripheral. It doesn't distract me from what I'm doing and my enjoyment of it probably hones my perception as I write.

Love to the family


NorthBayPhoto said...

I’m not much of a writer or blogger but when I do write, I tend to approach it similar to how you describe your own writing style. Sitting at the computer/typewriter and just letting one’s self get carried away into the story or article. Though this sometimes means extensive revision as the article may be too disjointed but it is fun at times!

Thanks for visiting my NorthBayPhoto blog!

countrygirlcityliving said...

Now that is just plain ole WRONG!!! Not the wonderful commentary, but the bottling of peaches. What's next, frozen dinner, ha ha!

David, if you have time please let me know....I would like to ask for some advice offline =)
Thank you in advance!

Misty Dawn said...

My problem is that I have many stories, both short and long, running through my head. I have a great thought or a great 'scene' go through my head while I am out shooting photos, in the shower, or lying down to go to sleep. By the time I get in front of the computer, I have either 'lost' most of the idea, or everything is playing out so fast in my head that I can't get it all down fast enough, it all gets mixed up then, and I get frustrated and give up.

I have so many 'just started' or 'half finished' stories in my notebook or on my computer!

iamnot said...

"There are three rules for writing a novel.
Unfortunately, no one knows what they are."
~W. Somerset Maugham

Anne said...

Thanks, David. Helpful insight and a confidence builder, because I've got just a vague idea (not even divided by characters and chapters) and write by the seat of my pants. I was once told that my stories are a "hairball" (I hope not the cat throw-up kind) and that the trick is to unravel the strands that are the important parts of the story and to follow them. Easier said than done. I wish I could plot, plan and follow and outline, but it kills the passion of my story and makes me lose interest since I write to find out what happens next. Can't wait to read your new novel. Thanks for the answer and tne link! Best,

Anne said...

David, this post is featured in my post today....

I tried to send a trackback to you but don't know how. My link to your post does work, thank goodness.

Learning more every day!

Good luck on your deadline.

it's the little things... said...

I have two questions.

Say we've 'mostly finished' our work, but know there will changes and edits suggested by the agent/publisher.
Should we start sending out as is?

Secondly, where do we find an agent?


Kimberly said...

Another question for you - have you considered compiling your Telling Write From Wrong posts into a book?

Cuckoo said...

Have been reading all your posts and enjoying them. I have a question but not now later when you finish off with novel things.

Well, if I say that most of the thoughts come to my mind when I am in shower.. how does that sound?
Honestly, now I have started keeping a pad & pen in my bathroom.

*Embarrassed look*

And yes, compiling all these posts is a good idea.

Deborah Gamble said...


Thanks for the moral support! You are indispensable. It was the briefest of pity parties too.

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