I started writing in February 2009. I boarded a plane bound for Los Angeles with my computer loaded with two movies. I usually read on flights, but the laptop movie thing was new to me so I was pumped – 5 hours will pass in a blink of two romantic comedies.
I settled into my seat, paid handsomely for a beer and started up my movie. I was ready to be lulled into my new flight plan.
You know where this is going right… if not… let’s just say my laptop failed me. I could see the movie but I couldn’t hear a thing. I was internally hurling obscenities at the screen! (Mainly because cursing out loud on a plane could have me arrested and there were children onboard.)
Faced with nothing but the SkyMall catalog and the USAirways Magazine, with its crosswords puzzles already vandalized, I was left to my own devices for 5 full hours. No book, no magazine, no music (see earlier description of loss of audio)! Just me and my wandering mind.
After several minutes of panic (let’s just say I need constant entertainment and engagement, that idle is not a good word for me) I thought about a hilarious story my friend, we’ll call him Tyler, told me. He’d just taken a trip with his father to visit a dying uncle. While there he was reintroduced to his aunt, whom he hadn’t seen in decades, and he couldn’t decide if she was crazy, eccentric or ill.
Tyler is a successful gay man who’s been with his partner for decades. While his relationship with his deeply religious father is completely loving today, it was not always like that. I envisioned a story unfolding; one of love, reconciliation and deep family secrets. I centered it around Tyler’s trip with his father to see his dying uncle.
I wrote feverishly until the flight attendants told me to discontinue the use of my portable electronic device, to make sure my tray table was stowed and my seatback was in the upright and locked position.
Those first 15 pages turned into 210. I finished writing my first novel, Fix You, right before Christmas. By the end of January I was done with my first rewrite and was ready to send this baby out in search of a literary agent.
To date, I’ve queried five literary agents. Yesterday, I got one of my first rejections. Even though my writing mentor, Bob, tells me it’s all part of the process… it doesn’t take away much of the sting. It’s rejection and who likes that?
Thanks so much for sending your query – I appreciate the chance to take a look at your project, and do hear how much you loved Garth’s books. I’m sorry to say, though, that I’m going to step aside instead of asking to read more – as much as I wanted to, I just didn’t fall in love enough with the opening page of the manuscript that you included.
Please bear in mind that everybody has different tastes and interests – my decision is based on my present work-load, and also based on the kind of material that I’m presently representing. That said, keep in mind that this is a crazily subjective business: I absolutely think you should keep looking for representation because what works for one agent (or publisher) may not work as well for another. I’m afraid, though, that I cannot recommend someone for it.
Very best of luck!
Folio Literary Management
I read, reread, and then read the letter again and finally decided that it was fair. I’ve long been concerned about the start of the story, that it was not how I wanted it exactly but it’s part of what I had toiled on for a year.
Being the über mentor, Bob gave me some simple suggestions to fix what I didn’t like. I’m going to work on that and see how it goes. Maybe in another couple of months, I’ll have a better beginning to my story and better yet, a literary agent willing to get it published.