After recently entering the first 250 words of my novel in a Secret Agent contest, I was once again on the critiquing block. People from all over, and probably well-educated in the world of writing, gave their opinions. The rational side of me knows this is the only way to grow and learn. I appreciate that.
The other side however wants to give two big middle fingers and ask them what they hell they know? (Their book deal would probably be flashed in my face, but remember this is my irrational side talking.) It hit me that Kevin Smith had it right at the end of Jay and Silent Bob. With all the money from when you finally “make it,” travel the world and kick the ass of every person who said your stuff sucked.
Sounds like a good way to spend money…
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It may seem a little harsh, but in the world of a struggling writer, it is truth. A conversation with my husband tonight about Julie and Julia reminded me of my hate for Hollywood’s propaganda of the ease in which it takes to get published.
When I realized that I was going to have a completed work, I focused on getting it published. I went to Stephanie Meyer’s website who gave a fairy tale account of a first time publisher. I don’t know what deal she made with the devil, but it was a doozy! Her first writing experience finished in three months. Her query letter written, read, and picked up by an agent within six of her first thought put down on paper. As all writers striving for publication know, this is unheard of. Only to be followed up by getting the best publicist in the world who marketed millions of dollars of wares to a hungry frenzie of teens. It was the perfect storm book publishing.
I finally got over my hate of Mrs. Meyers (well, maybe I recognize in that last paragraph that not all bad feelings are behind) I followed it up with a trip to the movie, Julie and Julia. It depicts a struggling writer in a dead end job looking for something to fulfill her life. She decides to fix Julia Child’s recipes and write a blog about it. In the end, she is profiled in a newspaper article. When she returns home that night, there are sixty-seven messages on her answering machine begging her for a book deal! Sixty-seven! OMG! WTF?!? No way. I know everyone wants to capitalize on a popular thing, but are we suppose to believe sixty-seven different sources picked it up and offered her deals of the century? That’s bullshit.
Hollywood has taken this approach with most of its depictions. In the climax, the struggling writer gets published because they believed in the work. If this is the only criteria, I will have an agent by the end of the year. And if that happens and my characters are made into Barbies, I will take this all back and tell Hollywood how appreciative I am.
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