Thursday, September 06, 2012
Friday Night (if you're in Auckland) at the Questiom Emporium
The agent I am following on twitter, and hope to be to represented by some day, recently made a post, saying how excited she was to sign on a new client, and then went on to describe the highlights of my work in progress (folklore based, YA, romance, etc.).
Now, I'm not naive, I understand that all stories are reinvented, and I am not claiming my story has been stolen. However, I do feel discouraged and bummed out a bit. I planned on sending her a query in just a couple of months. What are the chances of an agent taking on two projects in one year that are that similar? What are the chances of a publishing house choosing two books that are that similar?
You have taken a tiny smidgen of info (140 characters no less!) and interpreted in the one way that will make you feel bad.
Knock that shit off.
The world is a hard enough place for writers without being the instrument of your own torment. Besides, that's MY job.
So let's look at why this particular instance is you being Author Crazypants.
1. Just because something is based on "folklore" doesn't mean it bears any resemblance to your work.
2. Even if something is based on the exact same piece of traditional story telling as your novel, remember everyone tells/writes differently. Just look at all the interpretations of The Front Page, or A Star is Born. And for that matter, Star Wars is just a cowboy movie set in space. Sort of like a Jack Reacher novel without aliens.
3. This agent might not end up signing you, true, and there are a myriad of reasons that could happen. S/he ain't the only agent in town, and that means STOP this utter horseshit of thinking of a dream agent and get realistic. Your dream agent is the one who loves your work with a passion and begs you for the chance to take it on submission. Thus you don't know who your dream agent is until YOU GET AN OFFER.
You can spend a lot of time fretting about things you have zero control over. You can do this so much that it blocks you creatively and disturbs your inner peace. OR you can understand to the core of your being that you are a writer, and every minute you spend fretting is a minute you're not thinking about your work, reading the work of great writers you want to emulate, or visiting art museums to see the work of artists in different media, or going to the movies to see great directors and screenwriters ply their craft, or just doing the damn laundry so you can write in clean underpants. In other words, when you start to fret about this stuff, it's a prime facie evidence you are NOT WRITING. Get back to work. It's the one thing you can control, and it's the one thing that will get you moving toward your goal.