Friday, August 21, 2009

Riding the rollercoaster

The last thing beaten out of most writers is the idea of turns and fairness. That usually happens just before they either quit writing or get The Call.

Writers, at least those of us in it for the long haul, view the craft of writing as an apprenticeship. You get in there, you write, you send it out to critique partners, you send it out to contests, you pitch it to agents, you read books on craft, you write some more. And somewhere along the way, if you're lucky, if you're good and working on getting better, you get your shot.

If you're part of a critique group whose members are intent on improving, the idea of "turns" takes hold when the first of you gets a partial request, and then a full, and then, praise heaven, an agent. And then it's swoon time when your bud gets The Call. You're happy! You're excited! Because soon it will be Your Turn.

And then comes another member's good luck and good writing and she gets The Call. You're still happy. You're still excited, maybe even more so, because surely, surely, Your Turn is next.

I have two friends, both who write so well it would blow your socks off. They've had so many close calls, it's not even funny. One writes women's fiction as well as any Marian Keyes book on the shelf. The other is the next Evanovich.

If they could only find the right editor.

Yesterday, my critique partner who writes funny, quirky, off-beat stories got the worst news. The editor at a big-time house who loved her voice ... passed.

It's happened before. They say the most amazing things about her. They compliment everything about her. She's funny, she's unique, she's got VOICE. Someone's going to be publishing her, and maybe it SHOULD be them, but ... it won't be them.

And I don't get it. Surely if it's anybody's turn, it's hers. She had a book deal, before I did even. She had a big-time agent that many in the biz would kill to get.

But the publishing house where she had her book deal closed the line -- JUST before her book was due out. And the Big Time Agent? Well, Big Time Agent did squat for her.

She fired Big Time Agent, went through the agony of getting another agent, which is harder, I think, than getting the FIRST agent. Her second agent is a wonderful woman who works her butt off for my friend. Things were looking up.

And then they WEREN'T. And then they WERE. And now they aren't again. And it's just no fair.

I don't know what to say to her. I just want her to be able to get off this rollercoaster from hell and someone hand her a publishing contract. Because I know, when she finally does sell, it's going to be HUGE. All those editors who passed now are then going to be scrambling, trying to find some wannabe writer who can write with HER voice, the voice THEY turned down.

Until then, well, it sucks to be her.


Stephanie said...

Hey Cynthia

So sorry to hear about this... how frustrating to be very close like this person, and hear great things, and then to get a "no." But I do believe you're right... when it happens for her, it will be big. Perseverance is what separates the men from the, the women from the girls. Give her my best, from a felllow writer who truly feels for her...

P.S. Hope you're well and writing up a storm! Nelsa told me about your cozy mystery... she said it was fabulous!

out of the wordwork said...

Oh, give her cyber hugs from me too! Those close but no cigar situations are so, so brutal. But - like Stephanie knows - my favourite inspirational quote of all time is "Never, never, never, never give up" Winston Churchill.
And he won a war thinking that way. I know your CP will win a publishing contract.

Cynthia Reese said...

Nelsa and Stephanie, she's a trouper, just like you guys, and she's in it for the long haul. I will pass on your very encouraging comments.

Cynthia Reese said...

Oh, am writing ... just not on the cozy at the moment. I'm still writing on BeBe. The cozy is my carrot for me to finish this one project!