4.17.2006

Yes some of it's dreck but no matter

Dear Miss Snark,

Years ago I used to be in the film business in Hollywood (camera side) and the common refrain amongst producers was that there were many submissions, but little new and different in the scripts that made it to their desks.

While mucking about in your your slush pile, and dealing Snarks of death to miscreants, do you see essentially the same scenario(s) written many different ways? Does this ever cause you to want to change genres?

BTW - Destiny (Golden retriever) gives a big shout out to KY and wishes him all the best in overcoming the scourge of squirrels.


KY salutes his colleague in Squirrel Reduction Efforts.


Now, to your question.

yes, I see a lot of the same kind of thing but so far I've never been tempted to throw in the towel on working in mysteries or other specialty fields I love. I do fear sometimes that I get jaded and that perfectly nice books go by the wayside cause I've read too much.

The average book buyer in the United States buys fewer than ten books a year. Most people READ fewer than ten books a year. You can see from my link to library thing I've read 30 books this year alone, and that doesn't count the slush pile, the novels I read from my submission list, the novels from my clients or doghelpus the Writing Contest Novella y'all produced for me.

I thought about this question as I was reading my slush pile today and I can tell you that honestly it's hardly ever the "seen this before" that makes me write "pass" on a query letter. It's mostly bad writing. Cliches, unimaginitive descriptions, opening with a dream sequence (yea yea I read Rebecca too but that doesn't mean you should do it).

I actually just read a very fresh and original voiced work that I passed on cause the novel itself didn't hold together for me.

Writing a novel is not just getting all the pieces right, it's making the whole thing more than the sum of the parts.

And if you meant am I ever tempted to stop agenting, the answer is no. The payoff for me comes when I get an email from a client like I did last week saying "I've waited for this (book sale) my whole life". It's really really hard to imagine a more satisfying job than helping people achieve a lifelong dream.

1 comment:

Termagant 2 said...

'Yes, some of it's dreck' and it DOES matter. My kvetch is with TV science fiction. They keep remaking the same old stuff when there is so much good SF prose out there to start from (I omit Cattlecar Galactica 'cause the new one rocks, unlike the original). I submit that we're seeing a plethora of remakes (The Shaggy Dog, for heaven's sake!) because the accountants run the studios and they go only for the sure dollar. If someone took control who was interested in originality, we might see fewer remakes and more original work--bought from us authors who are out here writing.

T2