Saturday, January 13, 2007

Conf 299: GETTING THE WORDS RIGHT

Telling a writer friend about superagent's warm rejection letter the other day, she thinks there are enough positives in it (fun and feisty; simply haven't got room on my list for it; extremely similar to a book I have coming out next year) for me to attach a copy of his rejection to the next submission! i.e. because he took the time to read it, which is usually done by minonette of the minion, gives proof that there is definitely a market emerging for this kind of stuff... am not sure, but will give it some thought.

My new system worked well this morning, with me locked away in the little room and daughter free to carry on editing her movie down here (premiere tomorrow so time is pressing). But what was I saying about rhythm and style yesterday? Buff. Have just come across a load of epic rubbish - and this all the submitted work as well.

There's something very comforting reading about Louise Doughty's miseries of kicking off and her procrastinations into chocolate and caffene.

Lots of 'on writing' pieces around at the moment. Fiction Bitch has a summary of The Guardian's Zadie Smith interview; The Paris Review interviews have just come out in book form, but there are lots of wonderful ones online already, some interviews are there in full, others just a tantalising paragraph, but including their original MS's. Loved this snipped from the Hemingway interview in the paper this morning:

Q: Why did you have to rewrite the last page of A Farewell to Arms 39 times? What was it that stumped you?

Hemingway: Getting the words right.

Bye bye, thanks for visiting, come again soon.

9 comments:

Elizabeth Baines said...

It's difficult. Do you say how much they really wanted to publish you if it weren't for those ridiculous extraneous things, or do you keep mum because, as someone in the business said to me recently, 'publishers are like sheep'?

Elizabeth Baines said...

Sorry, that last comment was late at night, and my sleepy head confused agents with publishers. However, I do wonder if the same principles apply...

Adrian Weston said...

TELL your writer friend that I am always happy to look at books warmly rejected by others! There's info about my literary agency on my blog: http://raftpr.blogspot.com and on the official (but out of date) website www.raftpr.com

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

I love that, the Hemingway at the end. The rest sounds frustrating; I've never been published or tried to be published (and probably wouldn't be published even if I did try), so I can't offer any wise words of advice other than the usual platitudes about Just Jolly Well Keeping Going (usually best replaced with tea, daytime telly and a KitKat).

But thank you for the Hemingway.

NON-WORKINGMONKEY said...

Adrian. I've got a great idea for a book about this monkey, right, that sits in a chair and drinks absinthe and that, and fights with squirrels, and has long-distance romances with Canadian pathologists. I think it could make a million.

Amanda Mann said...

Yes, mainstream publishers are definitely sheep-like. Agents have more of the gambling, instinctive gut reaction in them methinks, which goes with their role of having having to second-guess the sheep for a living. Sadly, however, they won't touch something they love to bits if they don't think they can sell it. I think I shall desist, agents hate and detest gimmicks from the minions of any kind. At the end of the day it's simply down to the quality of the writing and whether they can sell it or not.

NWM! You are a one off and a book of your blog would sell millions. If I were one of those workingly people who could buy things I'd order one for everybody I know. Adrian, I can tell from your blog you have good taste in the loving of the Sybilles and your choice of living city - get in there quick man. Parcels of cake go down well. You'd probably clinch it if you offered a cat adoption service.

John Baker said...

I would hate to come between friends, but don't attach a copy of a rejection slip (whatever it says) when submitting a manuscript to a publisher.
Publishers are like sheep, if they think something has been rejected by another publisher, nine times out of ten they'll reject it without even bothering to read it.
The road ahead is rocky enough as it is, don't put obstacles in your own way.
And good luck with the manuscript.

Julia Buckley said...

Nice post. Sounds like things are going well. Good for you.

Kate said...

I do agree with John about not attaching the rejection. The most I would do would be to mention that you're aware of other books in the genre being sold recently and you feel you're on the crest of a new trend!

Kate x