Today I'll share an experience from years ago that I can now laugh at
Travel with me back to 2003
I'm at a fantastic and exciting SCBWI conference - the big one in LA with lots of fantastic authors and agents and editors.
It was my first year of writing seriously
Actually, it had only been about 4 months and I had 37 pages of my very first novel completed -- which I believed to be brilliant and wonderful and sure to be snatched up by some lucky publishing house in a frantic auction....but, I'm digressing here....
At this conference, I had signed up for a manuscript critique and was assigned to a fantastic up and coming agent.
This was the gist of our conversation:
Agent: So, Tess, tell me about your novel
Me: *blabbers on about novel*
Agent: Is it completed?
Me: Not quite, it's about half way there.
Agent: (looking at pages), so the book is only going to be 74 pages long?
Me: ummm, no. I guess not.
Agent: No, I guess not. Alright, these pages have a very familiar feel to them.
Me: (blushing with pride) thank you!
Agent: (pulls wierd look on face) Umm, you're welcome.
Critique session ends and I walk around like a peacock feeling so proud of myself. Sure, I made a bit of a foolish remark when I said the book was half done....how many pages should a novel be anyway? But, still, he said my work had a familiar feel. Like it was timeless and wonderful and brilliant.
LATER THAT DAY IN A BREAK OUT SESSION GIVEN BY SAME AGENT:
Agent: "As agents, we are looking for something fresh and original. We don't want anything familiar or played."
Me: *sitting in back of room* oh crud. By familiar, he means played.
No wonder he had that weird look on his face when I beamed and said, "thank you"
sometimes my idiocy amazes even me
I hope I've learned a little over these past six years. I think I have, thanks to my fantastic writerly friends (like you) who have shared critique, information, insight and encouragement.
Here is my point:
It is a road, my friends -- a long, winding road
and if we can't laugh at ourselves along the way
it will be a boring road as well
Question for you: how good are you at learning to laugh at your own mistakes (making the broad assumption you would even have any mistakes...which may or may not be the case)? And, did you know familiar means stale???