Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kindest negatives

The query letters have gone out. Not to every place I could conceivably submit to, but on one particular website I found for registered agents, I certainly submitted to every single New York science fiction agent that accepts email queries. I did this because in such close proximity, such salesman could most easily shop my work to the imprints of larger houses face to face, provided they liked what I sent. Also, I wanted to test the waters, as it were, in case the query was too aggressive, passive, esoteric, or biting. I've received nothing but rejections so far, which is not surprising, but none of the kindly worded negatives implied any of my previously listed fears. 


By the way, if you've ever been curious about the kinds of lives authors you've never heard of lead, they engage in daily conversation with both people and machines that include language like this:


"...as to your material I'm afraid I will be passing -- I'm just not
enthusiastic enough about the concept of your story to feel that I'd
be the right agent for the project"

"Due to the amount of queries we review, we are unable to comment personally on why the project wasn’t right for us..." 

"After careful evaluation, I have decided that I am not the right agent to represent your work. I can only properly represent materials that greatly excite or interest me."

"We'd like to apologize for the impersonal nature of this standard rejection letter..."

"It sounds like you're on the way to a solid career but right now we're not taking on new clients; my hands are full with the ones we have."  

I include that last one in segue. I remain optimistic. Last time I tried this, I submitted initially to the same amount of agents and received replies from only a handful. This time around I've heard seven eloquent, unambiguous no's with more, I'm sure, on the way. 

A scene I may right down one day occurred to me earlier this morning. I was looking at the window sill next to my bed. It's full of trinkets and souvenirs from other countries, gifts from friends. Most of them are good luck charms, idols that remove obstacles or creatures that grant luck. The only thing that isn't from elsewhere is that list of goals a friend encouraged I write down. That item came from a place I carry with me wherever I go, and I figured it would do well to rest near where I like to dream. 

In the scene though, two characters were investigating the living space of a victim of a homicide. One asked the other "Do all these things really help, all these little superstitious bits" and the other character, whom I had decided was both wise and knowledgeable suddenly, said, "Well, they won't stop bullets or anything, but believing in them can lead to the kind of mindset that avoids situations where being shot is highly likely. I suppose it's very chicken-egg."

Clearly if I ever were to write it down, it would need to enter through a drafting process. All of that is to say that I continue to write, both things that I think about and then scribble down and things I think about and resolve to scribble down some time in inevitable futures. Failures will come. Successes will follow. 

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