What does a writer really want for Christmas?
December 21, 2014
IT’S THAT TIME OF THE SEASON to make a wish list.
Maybe it’s too late.
It usually is.
We writers tend to wait until the last minute anyway.
I would say procrastinate, but I don’t use big words.
But what’s the fun of facing a deadline unless you can come sliding in with the finished manuscript just when your editor is pulling out his or her hair, your readers, if you have any, have given up hope, your friends have written you off as a lost cause, and your characters are all packed up and ready to leave for the holidays.
So what does a writer want in the stocking that’s hung above the fireplace.
Well, we don’t need a plot.
We find a new one every time we read the front page or obituary page of a newspaper.
It doesn’t make any difference.
The stories are everywhere you look and hoping someone finds them, and mostly we do.
We may not write them.
But we have them and pack them away.
Like fine wine, we’ll place them in the dark, and let them sit a while.
Forget the plots.
I have a closet full already.
We certainly don’t need any characters.
They’ve all been lingering in the green room of our minds for years.
The casting calls went out long ago.
The characters assembled en masse, and now all they’re waiting for is an audition.
Mostly they’re waiting for the right part.
That’s what’s so wonderful about our subconscious.
The beautiful, twenty-something, long-legged redhead I dreamed up in 1986 is still beautiful, still twenty-something, still has long legs, and there’s not a strand of gray in the red hair that drapes around her shoulders.
And the burly, soggy-faced gangster with blood on his hands and a scar on his cheek who came along in 1974 has been hanging around so long he went straight, bought a Bible, found a band of banjo and harmonica players, and became a traveling street preacher.
His chance for showing up in a novel may be even brighter than it was.
Don’t wish for an agent this Christmas.
You might as well believe in Santa Claus.
One is as real as the other.
The elves bring a sack full of switches.
Agents have a bag full of rejections.
It doesn’t matter if you wrote naughty or nice.
No use wishing for a publisher either.
You’re already sleeping with the best publishing company around.
Just look in the mirror.
And you’re staring at the CEO.
No publisher loves your book as much as you do.
No publisher will market it as hard as you will.
Want to write a sequel?
Forget the query letter.
The agent won’t answer it.
Neither will a publisher.
Just write it.
Your own self-anointed publisher has already approved it.
Personally, I guess I’ll take a Christmas tree decorated with books.
Some I’ve written.
Some you’ve written.
I read your book.
I know you.
I know your life.
And I’ll decorate the tree with a few nouns, an adjective or two, and a handful of new and used active verbs.
I’ll dangle the participles just below the star.
And I’ll scatter the prepositions like the icicles I’ve hoped for.
I’ve lost my box of adverbs.
I threw it away with the exclamation points and semi-colons.
Books and trees both look better without them.
So what do writers really need for Christmas?
The answer is simple.
Just send me a reader and a new review on Amazon.
I’m not that hard to please.