I’ve just left from my semi-annual catch up with my agent. We’ve been at this for years, trying to get my book to market.
“I don’t want to get you $1000 from a small press, I want to get you something big, random house, penguin…. I want your daughter to be like Tolkien’s kids, you know what I mean? We’re investing now to make a difference 50 years from now.”
Um, ok. You had me at Tolkien.
The editor he’s brought today has done a fresh read and we put her on the spot for feedback.
She clears her throat, starts slow, refers to ways to beef up the opening scene.
We probe. My agent, Sam, has read the book 13 times now! He needs her fresh perspective.
“When did you really start liking her…. When did you really get what was going on….?”
He goes to get another coffee and I ask the editor if she’d recommend the book to a friend.
“Yeah… I really liked it…”
Not convincing. But then we get talking again and the feeling is there – it’s at 90% (again) and needs a few changes. Move some things around.
Sam calls himself a map maker. I think he means map puzzle maker, no? Moving around geography until we have the correct lay of the land. Authentic. Legitimate. Larger than life. A new world that’s never existed before.
He wants me to drop some of the storytelling framework scenes and try a draft that’s more chronological.
My heart sinks.
“Don’t be disheartened ….It’s not that bad.” He says and proceeds to explain the simplicity of the key changes.
Raise the stakes. We want a brilliant literary debut.
We end the meeting on a promising note – it feels possible, and close. He wants me to start the book with a break up.
“Break our hearts,” he says, genuinely.
I get it. And he has no idea how poised I am to write that opening scene.
We say goodbye and I go to the car feeling like everything is unfolding as it should.
I write 1000 words of heartbreaking before leaving the parking lot.
Now onto the lawyer appointment.
What’s gotten into me? I feel like…. Me?!
We must love ourselves, and be ourselves, because we are the only ones that know ourselves!