Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Agents' Agent

Yep, I've been a tad lax these days with the ole blog. It isn't cause I have forgotten you all. Indeed you are way too often on my mind when I ought to be concentrating on real life - making right turns in busy city intersections!! Americans, please know that's a harrowing experience in a right hand drive auto!! :)

However, I have been writing. I've also been discussing DAS BOOK with an American editor. That trans-pacific conversation produced another short story - part of which I will post here.

Those of you who know me well, know that this story was filled with far more emotional excess than the story claims. I was destroyed by the editor's inability to identify with any aspect of what I was attempting. Can't think of too many other times in my life when I felt as misunderstood. Funny that. :(

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Nueva had asked for help from friends in the US who were professional writers before. However, it had taken her over a year to broach the topic. Originally, she had enthusiastically proclaimed that by herself she could sell the manuscript she had written with Elizabeth.

Six weeks after those successful authors suggested she contact Brad, frustrated but willing to finally opt for an intermediary between literary agent and her manuscript, she sent the Prologue, Chapter 1 and the book proposal for Kookaburra Serenade. She knew this first forty-minute phone conversation with the retired university professor and agent's agent in the USA would provide constructive criticism.

After the requisite pleasantries, Brad suggested, 'I suppose we ought to start with the bad news.'

'Ok. Let's hear it.'

'My first comment is that no one cares about walking in the Sierra? Nobody. It's boring, walking in the Sierra.'

'Pardon me?'

'I thought this was going to be a book about culture shock, about Australia. You need to start in Australia, hit the ground running. Look at Eat Pray Love. Gilbert starts in Rome. That's what the reader expects, a travel book on three continents.'

'Yes, tell me more.' Nueva squirmed in her seat as she gripped her pen a tad tighter and tucked her feet into the cushions of the overstuffed office chair.

'You and Elizabeth met in a Masters degree program. Is that right? A program in writing? Well, I don't know about programs in Australia, but here in America. . . '

'Ah, stop there. I don't want to talk about my Masters program. Let's talk about the book.'

'I'm not sure I can without making reference to your college experience .'

'Try. I don't want to discuss my Masters degree.' Her directive self surfaced faster than she had anticipated. Another American telling the colonials how it worked, why they ought to follow America. She shook her head silently.

'Well, I expected culture shock. I expected a story about arriving in Australia. I didn't expect a long walk in a place I don't care about. Who cares about the Sierra?

* * *