Yes, this is filled with whisky

Yes, this is filled with whisky

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wait, what?

The assistant for a very good, old school New York agent requested a partial of my thriller, then requested the full. Two weeks later, the assistant wrote back to tell me that she hadn’t read the full herself, but she’d given it to her intern, who had written up an extensive report about it, and the assistant was giving me an R&R.

The problem is that the intern’s comments, criticisms, and suggestions were largely off-base (sometimes painfully so), showed a real lack of insight into my novel, and betrayed a palpable inexperience about people and the world at large.

So, I’m in a bind. It would be a dream to sign with this agent, but I can’t revise according to the intern’s comments, because they would wreck my novel. Should I let the assistant know about the intern’s mistakes and hope she’ll be sympathetic? Should I just chalk the whole thing up to experience and move on? Or is there a third option?

Thanks very much.


  


The third option is to simply say you don't agree with the intern's assessment and suggestions for revisions. If you can use some examples of the painfully off-base criticisms, put those in your reply. Of course you'll leave out any kind of comment on the intern's state of mind, experience etc. You'll keep it solely about the work.  Leave it in the assistant agent's hands about what to do next.

Be prepared for the assistant to say sayonara. 

Meanwhile you KEEP QUERYING.


You don't say how much time has elapsed between getting this intern critique and writing to me. Before responding to the critique, you'll want to make sure you've given it at least a week. I can always tell when someone is replying in the heat of outraged rejection and inevitably, they have a more temperate reply a week later. 

And make sure you're not shouting "off my lawn, whippersnapper" before you reply. Sometimes those inexperienced babes in the woods see things that us more seasoned folk have long since stopped noticing.




48 comments:

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

I would have to wait two weeks before replying. It would take that long to remove the pins from the intern-doll.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Are we using "assistant agent" as "this person is still being mentored/learning the ropes but has their own clients"?

But feeling as though an important person in the cog isn't understanding the reading is an agonizing turn of events. It puts me in mind of "Please Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood".

And you know, on one hand, we as writers aren't able to affect how somebody takes our writing, especially with regards to what the reader brings to the table. But there are also times we think a thing is obvious....and nobody else thinks that. And as somebody who's misunderstood conversationally all the time, that's hard to hear, and hard to understand. At best, you've laid down a literary reference nobody's going to get, but it doesn't interrupt the story. At worst, you get in the way of the story because of how damn clever you think you are.

I don't know OP's novel, obviously. I'm just kind of using the situation as the jumping off point for my comments.

CynthiaMc said...

Merry Christmas Eve, everyone! (And Merry Christmas to our friends on the other side of the world.

I just wrote 2 scenes that made me laugh and one that made me cry. It feels good to write again. It struck me that acting is writing come to life and writing (for me at least) is acting on the page.

I'm working on the screenplay and the novel at the same time. I always see the movie in my head and then I write it down.

Now I'm off to do all the things I haven't been able to do while Hubby was in the hospital. If Santa can do Christmas in one night, I should be able to do Christmas in one day!

Kyler said...

Sometimes I wonder why some of these assistants (or interns) write these reader reports in the first place. Once a top editor had my manuscript, but his assistant wrote a not-so-nice report on it, so the editor let it sit. But then an agent gave him a call and recommended the novel to him. He read it right away, had some very good things to say, but ended up passing. Shows the power of agents (and assistants!)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Off topic and BTW let me wish everyone in this crazy-writing-community a happy and healthy holiday.

For those of you alone, and those thrown among the maelstrom of obsessive celebration, let us all reflect on what this holiday is really about, food, gifts, MC, Visa and Amex.

We're baking a Jesus cake. I heard it's his birthday.

Megan V said...

Opie,

Now's the time to take a step back. Your reaction, while understandable, presupposes a lack of experience (both in life and in writing) on the part of the intern. You assume that the intern's suggestions are mistakes. This judgement might be misplaced. Remember: many interns are widely read. They are your readers, your audience, your market. Part of the process is determining what will sell and what won't. You also don't know the intern's background. You might find they aren't a babe at all.

Nevertheless, there is that saying "out of the mouth of babes..."

Think of it this way:

Your response to the intern's suggestions are, "I can't believe that baby dirtied the bathwater. Toss the baby!"

But if you give it a moment, you might realize that you ought to replenish the bathwater instead. I say replenish because it's up to you to decide how much needs to be replaced to freshen things up, to make it better.

In the end, it's up to you. Take the time, yes, but also take a step back. We writers often treat the bathwater like it's our poor defenseless baby! Once you do both, then respond.

If you don't think any of the suggestions will improve the manuscript, then that's all you need to say. You don't think the R&R is the right move for you.

If you like some of the suggestions, utilize them, discard the rest, and inform the agent that you're willing to make X changes but not Y changes. Perhaps you might find a different way to address the issues that made the intern suggest the Y changes.

If you have an epiphany that you need to make all the changes, then make the changes and let the agent know.

Best of luck to you and happy holidays!




Brigid said...

Cynthia, you can do it! We have food, I put a couple festive touches on the mantle, and I cleaned the Super Obvious Things only. The rest will keep.

FIL is home, and he and MIL will come over for dinner today and lunch tomorrow.

JeffO said...

I'm a little curious--how common is it for agents to actually TELL potential clients, "I didn't read it, but here's what my intern thought"?

CynthiaMc said...

Yay! So happy for you.

nightsmusic said...

OP, your question reminds me of the critique 'partners' and I use that term loosely, who want to, whether subconsciously or not, write your novel the way they would write it. And unfortunately, there are many out there who do that. That said, I also know how close we become with our work. We birth it with pain every bit as real as a living child, we fret over it, cajole it into what it needs to be, love it, protect it and when we're finally done, we send it out into the world to be loved. Not everyone will love it. Maybe there is something that could use a different line, a different slant on something. So give it a week or two. Or three. Then try to see what the assistant saw. If you still feel it's out of line, make your case. Send your comments back and see what happens. You have a fifty-fifty chance.

Merry Christmas to everyone! I have a houseful of people tonight because we do Christmas eve and of course, I am sick yet again. This is my annual Christmas tradition, I guess.

Cynthia, buy Chinese for dinner. If people can't understand, they're all humbugs!

BJ Muntain said...

OP:

I'm not going to say you're wrong and the intern is right. I haven't read either your novel or the report. I don't know who you are, so I don't know how experienced you are. Because if you've already been published a few times, you know how to write a good, publishable novel. Therefore, you just need some etiquette advice here. Janet's got you there.

If you've never been published, then have you put your work through honest critique partners and good betas? If so, you can have your honest critique partners read the report, and see what they say. That would not only give you the time you might need to calm down (if you did just receive this letter), and will give a more objective view of the report.

If you haven't put your work by honest critique partners and beta readers, then look at the intern as your first. Perhaps you need to find some critique partners to read your novel and see if they see something similar. (Don't let your new critique partners read the report, though - it will hinder an honest review.)

But definitely wait a while. Then, at the very least, you can tell the assistant that you've been considering these changes for (however long it's been), and just can't agree with them.

Cynthia: I'm so glad your husband is home. Good luck with Christmas! Don't stress yourself out. Just enjoy the day with your hubby and what family you'll have with you.

Brigid: And you've got good news too! So happy your father-in-law is home for Christmas.

Such good news for our Reiders!

Wishing everyone a beautiful Christmas Eve and a wonderful Christmas Day, no matter where you are and who you're with. If you're alone this Christmas, you're still beautiful and wonderful and worthwhile. Remember that. We value all our Reiders, whether they contribute or not. (((hugs)))

Sherry Howard said...

I'm in several critique groups. You learn that most people who write and read make great suggestions for improving your writing. Then, there are those other few who see the world through a different lens. Maybe this reader is a different lens person. Sometimes they're way off, and sometimes they see things we don't see and should.

QOTKU advised you on what to do in the real world, and this little universe full of commenters should settle your heart. Congratulations on getting a foot in the door--that's a major accomplishment!

And I hope everyone in this community has a wonderful holiday season in whatever way you recognize it. For me, it's all about blessings and family.

Robert Ceres said...

OP, do you have a cp? If so, see what he/she says. Often I disagreed with a comment from my cp (regarding my work) only to discover there was a real problem, even if I disagreed with the proposed correction. This went both ways. Fresh eyes can discover problems others more familiar with a manuscript miss, even if they don't always give the right solution. People get tossed out of a good read for all kinds of reasons that may or may not be apparent to them.

CynthiaMc said...

You made me laugh. Thank you for that. Thankfully Hubby found a spiral sliced ham on sale before he went to the hospital so all I have to do is make my bourbon sweet potatoes, homemade macaroni and cheese, bake the rolls and my Italian cream cake. I love to bake and rarely have time to do it.

The tree is up, the wreaths are hung, stockings found (I am convinced my guardian angel is helping me a lot today).

I needed Christmas before cleaning this morning. Now I want the rest of the house to match the tree.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I had a very similar experience to OP recently. Some intern gave me an R&R after a full request with a respectable agency. Some of the edits did irk me a bit so I contacted my college age, early twenty writers to get their thoughts. Turns out intern's perspective was valid and helpful so I am doing another fairly intense revision. The last thing I wanted to do. I do not know if I will resubmit ultimately but an R&R is better than a rejection.

Also, you don't have to do every single suggestion, but do step back and evaluate. I realized the feedback on my WUS that was way off the mark was probably my fault. Upon further examination, I saw opportunities to improve the story in a way that would avoid the misunderstanding between reader and text.

I used beta readers age 12-67. I write fantasy and my audience is potentially that large. After I calmed down and digested the feedback, I made changes that helped, and fixed things that seemed to create creative misunderstanding.

Most of the changes surrounded a 13 year old POV character- things a young intern was indeed able to see that my more mature self had forgotten about being 13. Those suggestions helped build my conflict and evoke better visceral response to the text.

Any feedback takes extra time other writers are not getting, even if it is from a very young intern, and has value. It is worth considering. You always have the ability to reject those changes. Just keep querying, and try to remember, no one at an agency or publisher whether editor, agent, or intern is trying to ruin your art. They are simply trying to make it marketable. As Janet always says, publishing is a business.

Mister Furkles said...

Seems to me that there is problem with an agency that leaves manuscript review and revision suggestions up to an assistant's intern. Maybe this isn't an agency you want to handle your novel.

Who is going to send queries to editors? Would you have confidence in an assistant's intern contacting potential editors. Suppose the intern contacts several editors, is rejected, and then the agency drops you. Your next agency cannot submit to those editors.

Mark Conard said...

All, thanks very much to Janet for posting my question and for her sage advice.

Thanks to everyone for the thoughtful comments.

Several of you have wondered whether this novel has gone through the critique process. I assure you that it has. The book has gone through several major revisions, and is much, much improved, thanks to the thoughtful suggestions, comments, and criticisms I've received from several very good agents and from a good number of fellow writers. So, rest assured that I know how to give and take constructive criticism.

In this case, the intern is suggesting (for example) major revisions that run contrary to some of the great advice I've received in the past and, were I to follow his advice, I'd end up undoing some really good work.

Julie.M.Weathers said...

I've had mostly real good luck with minions reading FAR RIDER. One top agent had a minion read and make suggestions for a R&R. I wasn't sure how I would accomplish what she wanted. One of my beta readers who had not read the whole thing together, offered to read. She not only agreed with the minion, but added, "love the characters and dialogue, but as a story, this doesn't work."

I wept bitter tears for three weeks. While I was wallowing in the pit of despair, the boys in the back worked on revisions. When I came up for air, I knew how to rewrite it. The minion had very sound advice on where to start the story. (Starting the story in the wrong place was the number one reason agents on the Idol panel at Surrey said no.)

I did the R&R. New agent minion read and sent it back. Closer, but still needed work. Back to the drawing board.

Third go round agent sent back some line edits.

We never did strike an accord, but the story is much stronger now.

Another reader just really didn't get the story. They don't read fantasy and it was just overwhelming. Their purpose in life was to show me how to slice words. Unfortunately, in high fantasy, yes, that world building is necessary. I can't just say, "It was a typical Tuscon summer day when . . . ."

A reader on a site commented on a piece from RAIN CROW, "A woman wouldn't wave the confederate flag in Baltimore."

Yes, she would and did. The first casualties of the Civil War were in Baltimore when the Union marched troops through the city to get to Washington.

Lincoln later had a sitting Congressman, the Baltimore mayor, police chief, city council, and entire police board arrested without charges or trial. A judge ruled this unconstitutional, but Lincoln ignored the decision.

Anyway, the point is you have to pick your battles. Wait for a while and think about what the minion said. It truly is possible she didn't get the story at all. I've had to go back and completely rewrite FR based on some advice I got, which kind of wrecked the voice.

If you feel strongly about something, such as me sticking to the scene where a woman waves a Confederate flag at passing Union troops, then do it and have no regrets.

It's kind of like a guy telling you, "I'll marry you if you dress like Shirley Temple and do your hair in ringlets." It boils down to wanting to be married badly and ending up badly married.

Kitty said...

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Craig said...

At dinner the famous writer leaned over and whispered in the ear of the neophyte.

"My Agent's assistant's assistant's assistant said that sweet Stegosaurus Dino porn is the next big thing."

"That's nice but my Agent's assistant's assistant's assistant's assistant assistant said that a multi million dollar deal was just made for a transgenre Tyrannosaurus who has gone Vegan and only eats Carkoonian kale cookies shaped like Santa Claus."

I can't say bad things about assistants because one of them turned me on to Query Shark and thence to my Queen. Never found out her name but she was the assistant to "L" and could only communicate like that. She had one week's worth of training before "L" took a tour of Africa

Craig said...

Cynthia, order in a Chinese ruck and say you are emulating A Christmas Story.

Christina Seine said...

Craig, I love that movie. "It's a major award!"
Cynthia - you can do it! But also, sometimes less in more. =)

Opie, I feel your pain. When I first started sending out my current manuscript, I had fulls coming back with wonderfully thoughtful and intelligent feedback, which I appreciated immensely. The only problem was that the agents who responded literally gave 180-degree opposite opinions of what I needed to do to "fix" my story. I was dumbfounded. Eventually though, I started to see a pattern, and the agents who I really felt GOT my book were pretty much saying the same thing. I finally figured out what I need to do, and I feel good about it.

So keep sending out your MS (good luck!) and see if a pattern emerges in the feedback you receive. You don't have to respond to Super Cool Agent's assistant right away, or if you do you can just thank them for their feedback and let it sit. Then hang tight and wait for more feedback to roll in. It may be that others see similar issues but explain them better. Or this intern might truly be whack-a-doodle. It happens.

Colin Smith said...

If we assume Agent will base a decision on Intern's response, you can be sure that:

a) if you accept Intern's changes, you might get a positive response from Agent;
b) if you reject Intern's changes, you will get a negative response from Agent.

If you really don't think Intern's changes will benefit your novel, and your betas feedback seems to line up with that view, then it might be best to just walk away, don't even challenge the Intern's suggestions. When Decca records turned the Beatles down, they effectively told Brian Epstein (their manager) that guitar groups were on the way out. Now, they were probably basing their view on the state of the American music scene at that time, not the British. Nevertheless, though Epstein thought they was grossly mistaken (and he was), he didn't argue the point. He just took the session tapes elsewhere. EMI namely, and a young A&R guy called George Martin, who signed them, even though they sounded different, and they were from Liverpool, and they sounded a bit rough in the studio. And the rest, as they say, is history... :)

All the best to you!! :)

Adele said...

What Colin said, plus - I bet they didn't just pluck anybody off the street for that intern's job. And I bet that when the assistant started handing off work to the intern, she checked the intern's reports to make sure they reflected reality as the agency knows it. So if you start protesting that the intern is a whackadoodle, you won't get results, just a reputation for being obstreperous - and there goes any possibility of them taking you on for a future project.

Mark Ellis said...

Reminds me of what Hollywood did to "Home for Purim," the fictious film in the real film "For Your Consideration." The script starts as a nice family drama centered around the Jewish holiday. The concept is proclaimed "too Jewish" by the Hollywood handlers, who remake it as "Home for Thanksgiving." The two writers are angst-ridden as they see their work bastardized into something bearing little relation to the original story.

Bottom line: Thanksgiving sells better than Purim, which I'd never heard of till I watched this movie.

Colin Smith said...

"... though Epstein thought they was grossly mistaken (and he was).." Of course I meant to say "(and they were)..."

*sigh*

S.D.King said...

Opie -congrats on getting that far!

E.M. Goldsmith - You are right - beta readers are best when they are the target audience.

I am very thankful that in January I have a whole class of 6th graders who are being my guinea pigs. The teacher is one of my former students and the class will read my book together and I will visit several times for feedback and discussion.

I will also show my Pinterest board with inspiration pics - and see how closely it matches what the kids got out of it.

They will use printed manuscripts and I am encouraging a lot of margin notes. My biggest question - "did you reach a point where you felt like bailing?"

MERRY CHRISTMAS to Janet and all the Reiders - my wonderful cyber friends!

Matt Adams said...

Mark the Opie -- I think you might be getting lost in the word intern. Interns can be lots of different kids of people, and this one might be old, experienced and starting over with a new profession. Or it might be a Suma grad of Iowa or something like it. He or she might really great. I'd wager they are, because they've been hired and trusted to read requested manuscripts. That's not a small deal. We tend to think of interns as
well-meaning college punks who don't know what it's like to work and work on something, so we discount their advice. I know I did when my agent had one of her interns read and give a report. And she wasn't always right, but she wasn't always wrong, and it took me a long time to realize that.

The hesitance I would have, though, is in doing a massive, work-changing R&R without an offer of rep. if your agent loves your book and suggests some changes before signing you, that's one thing. Doing a massive R&R on spec from someone other than the agent him/herself might a waste of time and effort. But I'm of the belief that every edit can help in one way or another, so maybe you work a bit of the advice into another look. The intern isn't jealous or out to get you like some Cps can be, and is offering you honest and sincere advice on how to fix your book. I'd think twice before you reject it.

restif said...

As one of a vast multitude of lurkers I want to say i've really enjoyed you all and learned a lot (notice 'a lot' is two words). Happy and Merry to all.

Mark Conard said...

Colin and Adele: this is solid advice. I do have to be wary of becoming known at this huge agency as a problem, someone that no agent there should want to deal with.

Matt: point well taken, but this particular intern's comments betray a real lack of experience about people and the rest of the world. It's possible this is an older, inexperienced person, but that's neither here nor there, of course. Many of his comments and suggestions that reflect that inexperience are badly misguided.

kdjames.com said...

Mark, congrats on the request from an agency you respect. I agree with what others have said about letting some (more) time pass before responding. Make it about the work, not the person.

This is one of my favourite quotes from Neil Gaiman: "When people tell you there's something wrong with a story, they're almost always right. When they tell what it is that's wrong and how it can be fixed, they're almost always wrong." [from this blog post: http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2001/03/american-gods-blog-post-24.html ]

One of the toughest things for me when doing a critique is stopping myself from "fixing" someone else's writing the way I would fix it if it were my work. I assume that's difficult for other people as well. See whether you can evaluate what this person thinks is "wrong" without putting too much stock in how they're suggesting you fix it.

But note, too, Gaiman's use of "almost" always. Sometimes people are just wrong.


Merry Christmas to those of you who celebrate the holiday! It's feeling more like spring here today and I've got the A/C on. Festive.

Lilac Shoshani said...

kdjames: thanks for sharing this. I love Neil Gaiman.

Mark: I'm curious to know what you will do next and wishing you best of luck.

Merry Christmas Janet and those celebrating it.

Mark Conard said...


KdJames: Thanks very much. This is sound advice, and a great way to look at criticism.

Lilac: Thanks for asking. I have another dream agent reading the revision. He's been extremely helpful and a source of some of the best feedback I've used to revise thus far. If, after reading the revision, he's ready to sign me, then I won't have to worry about superagent #1 with the assistant and the problematic intern. So I'm anxiously awaiting his feedback.

Panda in Chief said...

I love that Neil Gaiman quote. I just heard another one today while listening to "Furiously Happy" while I was painting. That one was "act as if you know what you're doing." I am going to write that in permanent marker on my hand.

Mark, sounds like you have done all the right stuff, critiques, revisions, etc, and I know what you mean about suggestions that derail the whole essence of your novel. What I might ask myself now, is who at the agency would I really be working with, should they decide to take me on? The assistent, the intern, or the dream agent? As so many other people have said, don't get hung up on thinking that this agent is "the one" to the exclusion of common sense.

As the shark said, keep querying while you see what's what.

And for all those frantically preparing for holiday festivies, here's my sage wisdom, for all occassions: Clean enough so you aren't embarrassed, but not so much that you are resentful.

Have a happy new year every one.

PS: great analogy about the Beatles, Colin.

Dena Pawling said...


I agree with those who asked which person at dream agency would actually be doing the work in representing you, should you sign. I've dealt with law firms on the opposing side, where it's like pulling teeth to speak with the actual attorney. I end up with a paralegal or secretary many times. Now, sometimes I prefer that because the support staff are either (1) more knowledgeable than the actual attorney, (2) easier to work with, (3) more responsive, or (4) all of the above. But sometimes I need to discuss the case with someone with a law license and/or reputation on the table. With whoever you sign, be sure you know who will be doing the work in representing you.

>>"act as if you know what you're doing."

This was my philosophy to get thru court hearings for the first several years of my law practice. Most of the time it worked. Occasionally it was a disaster, but I lived thru it at least. With my license intact.

I evicted four families this morning. The actual move-out date is the end of January. One is the end of March. I'm not that much of a Grinch.

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Dena Pawling said...


PS for those so inclined

http://www.noradsanta.org/

Lance said...

Congratulations, Mark. Hang in there. Be professional.

Best wishes for all the Reiders and for Ms. Janet. Forecast for record breaking temperature of 75 tomorrow here in the Georgia Piedmont.

DeadSpiderEye said...

'Oh yeah, I passed your prospect on to the unpaid help,' who actually says that, because I'm thinking: a large disparity in perceived status between author and agent here. Maybe though it's culture thing, whereas the crit an author finds objection with, is a universal constant. So a reader's insight seem lacking, er yeah well, it would be wouldn't it, compared to the person who wrote it. I take the view that all criticism is valid, as long as it fulfils two criteria, it's sincere and borne from personal conviction. Unfortuantly those conditions are most often, not satisfied, even more unfortuantly that shortfall is even more likely to be manifest in a professional context.

There is a chance, a slime one, that the intern might be more approachable, it would depend on the circumstance. If that opportunity should present itself, you might use that to your advantage, gain some insight into what's going on behind the frosted glass windows. If they're a conscientious acolyte, diligently trying to make their way, then the prospect of a valuable ally might surface, if you can successfully negotiate their requirements. Anyway, good luck.

Lilac Shoshani said...

Mark, the other dream agent sounds great. I'm crossing my fingers for you! :D

Julie.M.Weathers said...

Mark,

That is really remarkable that you've had R&Rs from two dream agents. Trust me, they don't offer that unless they're interested. So, good job and good luck.

Julie

BJ Muntain said...

kdjames' Neil Gaiman quote

Dena's link to NORAD's Santa site


Merry Christmas - and happy Friday to those who don't celebrate!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Twenty family members just left a short while ago after a wonderful night of celebration.
I set the coffee pot for auto-start tomorrow, changed, and now, less than an hour before Christmas arrives I came here. What does that mean?
I guess I have a second, world-wide family.
Peace to all.

LynnRodz said...

Merry Christmas to Janet and everyone celebrating and to all a good night.

kdjames.com said...

That advice from Gaiman to "act as if you know what you're doing" comes at the very end of a commencement speech he gave a few years ago that is full of wisdom and humour (generally known as the "make good art" speech). Really, the entire thing is wonderful and inspiring and well worth 20 minutes of your time:

On youtube: Gaiman's commencement speech at the University of the Arts in 2012.

Yes, I do know how to provide a proper clickable link when I'm not rushing about cooking and cleaning and wrapping and preparing for company. :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Merry Christmas everyone. I wish everyone love and joy this season and keep writing. Good night.

CynthiaMc said...

Merry Christmas, y'all! This has got to go down as one of the strangest Christmas Eves ever at our house but by golly we're pulling it off. Got the tree up. Baffles me why the lights aren't working, but whatever. Managed to get battery covers off the outdoor wreaths, batteries replaced, and they do light up. Yee ha! Discovered it is possible to do Christmas shopping for everyone (including the cats, dogs, humans, and parrot) in 4 hours, plus do the grocery shopping before the store closed early. Was fortunate to find angels all the way (especially the tall guy with the bow tie at Publix who spotted the last container of buttermilk and got it down for me so I can make my Italian cream cake).

This was the first Christmas Eve in forever that I haven't sung at Mass and it will feel very weird to be a) going to early mass instead of two Christmas Eve ones and b) sitting in the congregation. But we have so much to be grateful for. We are exhausted and bedraggled, but by golly we are together and that for me makes this Christmas wonderful.

I got a copy of Stephen King's On Writing as an early Christmas present!

Love you all. Mark, hang in there. You'll do great.

Santa and I have stockings to fill and I owe myself 2 more pages before dawn.

Merry Christmas, everyone! ;

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Mark, Congratulations for the RR even if it's not how you imagined it could be. I took a moment to click on your profile and enjoyed your harmonica and guitar capability. Then I saw what books you've helped edit and what you teach. You obviously have enough competence in your field and in life to recognize what doesn't work for you.

Good luck with the agent number two.

Cynthia, I hope your husband is fine.

And Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it.

Brigid said...

Cynthia, that's wonderful. Your cake sounds amazing. Yesterday was a flurry of cooking, church, and artfully pouring ornaments into bowls because we didn't get a tree.

Today is round 2, sans husband who's working. I recruited my friend and her adorably-distracting baby to help us get through.
Meanwhile I'm counting blessings so I don't end up a Scrooge hiding in my closet from oversocializing.