Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Long (er than You'd Expect) and Winding Road + a Contest!

Every year, I make a point of reading LITTLE WOMEN, which is one of my all time favorite books.  And every year, I get angry as hell that Jo and Laurie do not end up together when they so clearly belong with each other.  Now that I have an author writing a non-fiction account of the lives of Transcendalists Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry James Thoreau, and Louisa May Alcott, I wish I could strongarm him into rewriting Alcott's ending of her story, but I guess it will have to go down as one of the greater romantic mistakes in fiction.

I drove my mom crazy in 5th grade searching for the book with this exact cover.

Actually, now that I think of it, a lot of my favorite stories have unsatisfying endings in terms of who ends up with whom...I want Cassandra and Stephen to be together in Dodie Smith's I CAPTURE THE CASTLE, which never happens, and I think that I'm probably the only person in the world who wants Elizabeth Bennett to stick it to Mr. Darcy and run away with Wickham.

That is one of the reasons why agenting appeals to me so much; once I find a story that I fall in love with, I actually get to have some say in any aspects that I don't like and can work with the author to tweak and polish their story until it is just right.  Not just with things like who gets the girl, but also with content, pacing, character development, and voice.  All of my authors will tell you that I get very involved in their manuscripts and immerse myself in every detail of their story.  It helps me to catch little inconsistencies or to create connections that I otherwise wouldn't see.

A lot of people seem to think that once they sign with an agent, their book is guaranteed to be sold.  Unfortunately that is not the case.  There can be several stages of editing and revising with your agent before your manuscript is even submitted to publishers.  I have worked with authors on revision for almost a year before we both felt that the manuscript was in the right shape for editors.  This is not to say that I would have felt qualified to tell Louisa May Alcott, Dodie Smith, or Jane Austen what to do with their masterpieces, but I at least would have made a strong suggestion!  

Disclaimer: To all the Louisa May Alcott, Dodie Smith, and Jane Austen fans--especially the Jane Austen fans, because I know you can get crazy--that was a joke (kind of), so please don't kill me!

Also, in other news, Backspace (whose conference I will be attending) is having a logline contest in conjunction with their conference and the Broadway play, SEMINAR, starring Jeff Goldblum.  You can enter for a chance to twin two tickets by sending them the title and logline for a fictious book.  To view details about how to enter, click here!

I don't know about you, but this is how I always envision Jeff Goldblum in my head.