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Monday, March 11, 2013

"Please Check One . . ."

Well, my novel is progressing. (Oh you didn't know about the novel? Remind me to tell you later.) Anyway, with the novel making progress, I have begun, at the insistence of my writer-friend, Jim, to begin the search (or should I say application? audition?) for an agent to represent me.

I realized just today what it reminds me of.

When you were a kid in school, did you ever pass, or get passed, a note? Most of us did. How about the famous "note genre" received most often by the popular kids, and passed by only the bravest (or most desperate) of souls—the "do you like me" note.

You remember the drill, don't you? The "liker" would write a note:
do you like me?

__yes

__no

plez chek one
The the "like-ee"  was supposed to mark an X in front of their preferred answer and pass the note back. While the recipient was answering the message, its author waited on pins and needles, hoping for a "yes." Bad news was if they check "no," and even worse was if they checked "no," underlined it heavily, and put several exclamation points after it.

Worst of all, though, was the note that came back with an added category that the recipient had added and checked, "as a friend"! Was that supposed to be a consolation prize? Weren't you already my friend? Thanks, but no thanks.

Like those childhood scribes, I've passed a note. (well, actually, more than one—I'm fickle) I've sent what's known in "'the (publishing) business" as a query letter. Essentially a "do you like me?" note, sent to an agent or editor, introducing myself and my book concept. Now I wait on pins and needles for them to pass the note back. Will they ask to see sample chapters—a "yes"? Will there be no reply—a "no"? Or will it be the customized response of, "Your writing is excellent, but I don't think we're a good fit, and I wouldn't be able to do my best for you." In other words, "I like you as a friend. You're a really great person. It isn't you . . . it's me."

So I sit by the phone  (something my kid's generation knows nothing about!) and wait, figuratively speaking. Will the note get passed back? Will it hold the answer I want?

Will I get an invitation to the dance?

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