Tuesday, January 12, 2010


I don’t think I’ve ever compared my writing to an episode of “The Bachelor” before but here goes. As I baked chocolate brownie muffins last night, the pilot bachelor took a group of women on a date to Magic Mountain. (The whole group date thing is icky, but I shall try to stick to the subject.) They had the entire theme park to themselves. I wasn’t watching the screen—one must not waste chocolate on a botched batch!—but I’ll assume they rode the roller coasters. I went to Magic Mountain once when I lived in L.A. and the place is all about the roller coasters. And that’s where I made a connection with my writing.

(Sort of) like that entourage, my writing experiences are very much like riding a roller coaster on my own. Over the last twenty-four hours, I’ve gone from a grim low to an ecstatic high.

The low arose from my searching for publishers and agents on the Internet and in The Canadian Writer’s Market. About four weeks ago, I designated January 13 as Submission Day, with the intention of revising and polishing two of my picture book manuscripts and one teleplay and getting them in the mail. The good news is that I am excited about the projects that I’m preparing to send out. The bad news is that I don’t feel like I have a great sense about where to submit them. Many publishers do not consider picture books. Others do not take unsolicited manuscripts. That requires a search for agents, most of whom are not taking new clients and others who don’t consider authors unless they have been recommended and referred. The doors to the TV script arena seem even more guarded. Hours spent searching and I still didn’t feel I had a plan.

But then things perked up. I went to the gym and returned home to do a final polish on one of the picture books. After some tweaking, I reached a point of being fully satisfied, even energized, about the project. The rise continued when I got a call from a friend who is arranging a dinner later this month with a group of friends that includes someone who co-wrote a feature film now in theaters and generating Oscar buzz. I look forward to the opportunity to chat with him about his experiences.

And this morning I drafted my query letter for my other picture book. The letter has much more zing than prior versions, giving me a better feeling that I am creating the best circumstance I can to get my work noticed. It seems that I have reached the pinnacle of the roller coaster. But then maybe not. Maybe it’s time to build a taller roller coaster.

Riding alone is exciting, but also scary. Still, it beats sitting on a bench, clutching an oversized stuffed purple alligator and a bag of cotton candy while watching others experience the thrills and, yes, the occasional nausea. (One can get nauseous even being a bench warmer. A little cotton candy goes a long way.)

By the way, the chocolate muffins turned out amazing. Perfect with whipped cream. Comfort food to deal with the angst in finding a publisher/agent and a reward for trudging onward!

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