Just got off the train. The winds up here are crazy. Waves from the Tay were crashing on the side of the wall, and coming across the rail bridge was actually scary. The winds just ripped around the train. It was a bit like that part in Harry Potter when the Dementors are surrounding the Hogwarts Express. It was so cool.
Anyway, had a lovely weekend. As you’ll remember, MyAuthor had to pull a momma-bear play with the Agency and tell Giles what’s what. Giles wanted the Intern to go to this Festival, but she wasn’t up for it because 1) she would have been totally out of her depth (and she’s one of the only people at the Agency at the moment who even remotely realises when they are out of their depth) and 2) she was loaded down with Uni work and was kind of freaking out about going.
Actually, I’m kind of coming around to the Intern…sort of. She’s showing more promise and we had a chat on Wednesday about a few of her latest comments on the slush pile. Originally she was just picking stuff because she thought she had to, now she’s actually using her brain. Although, I can tell she and Giles are sleeping together. It’s the way he looks at her. Offers her rides. And how she never looks him in the eye. I’ve totally been there. I’ve done that. I know secret sex when I see it. But Giles? Ugggghhhh? I cannot see the appeal. He’s old and weird and an idiot and not even remotely handsome. Like some older men are still hot (George Clooney, Harrison Ford, Pierce Brosnan), hell even Johnny Depp is now 50, so if you’re going to go with the ‘I’m going to shag my grandpa’ agenda, pick Depp not a posh twat with spots on his head. Giles is simply no Depp.
Anyway, so off track. Right. MyAuthor told Giles that it’s stupid for the Intern to accompany her to the Festival down south, and that if the Intern went MyAuthor would end up babysitting her and she just didn’t have time for that. Then MyAuthor added that I should go, and that from here forward she would only be interacting with me otherwise she’ll go to another Agency.
Giles had me on a train to that Festival so fast.
Festival was great. We dropped a few hints that we were looking to turn a book of hers into a film. Much to MyAuthor’s chagrin, the audience was excited. In fact, I think we may have sold a few extra books because of this…the ‘I need to read the book before the film comes out’ syndrome.
Oh, and I was asked to lead a creative writing class. They had a small creative writing workshop and the person teaching it had to back out at the very last minute. She had like food poisoning or something. I don’t know. But, they were in a panic, and someone had the great idea, ‘She’s an agent. She knows about publishing and writing books. She can teach it.’
Totally freaked me out. I’ve sat in on these things before at festivals, where someone parades the agent through the class to answer the same old questions about getting published. It usually lasts about thirty minutes, and I have the same old answers thrown at me. (How do you get your manuscript noticed? Do you really need to write the whole thing before sending it in? Do I really need an agent?) But there’s usually an instructor to keep things going. And, it’s always about publishing. It’s not about writing.
My lesson for the day, I do not want to be a teacher. Everyone looking at you, writing down everything you say, and what if I told them wrong. Writing’s not like maths. Not everyone gets the same answer.
There were six people in the class, all women. Four were in the middle of writing a novel (or at least had written a few words towards a bigger idea that would maybe become a novel), one was a poet, and one wrote loads of flash fiction. I had no idea what to do with these people. I had considered doing the ‘Here’s the first line of a story now complete it, while I sit here and flip through Facebook’ lesson. But, nah. I hated doing those writing prompt things in Uni. And then, I’d have to sit and listen to all their stories. My god. I had no energy to listen to a bunch stories that were created through force and hadn’t been edited at all. What would I say to them? ‘You wrote that in 20 minutes and it shows.’ ‘Go home and work on it more, maybe turn it into something else.’ ‘You can’t possibly write something publishable in 20 minutes without an edit.’ ‘This isn’t how “real” novelists spend their day.’
So, instead, I decided we were just going to chat. They told me about their books, we (the whole group) asked them questions about the novels they were working on. We got to talking about structure and plot and characterisation. I simply told them what I found works and what doesn’t. I also told them what Lorainne had taught me about what sells. The answer to this is ‘action’. I don’t mean the ‘action’ genre. I mean, don’t have someone sitting in their bedroom longing to hook up with best friend, instead have them trying to hook up and failing. Yes failing. That sells.
Anyway, at one point I nearly freaking outted myself. I felt a bit like it was all déjà vu, and that all these publishing questions had already been asked and answered. And they had been. On this blog. But I couldn’t quite remember where I talked about it, and I kept saying, ‘If you need any more information, it’s on our Agency blog.’ Then I realised that it wasn’t, and that it was on the, Notes from the Intern, blog and I actually said, ‘No…sorry, it’s on my other blog.’
Completely forgetting that I’m freaking anonymous and talk about all kinds of smack on here, not just publishing.
Then someone said, ‘What’s the name of your blog’ and they had their pen all poised to write it down.
That’s when I remembered. Fuck!
So, I backtracked and said, ‘Actually, sorry I’m being so confusing, but it was on the Agency’s old blog. We’ve temporarily taken that down, but we’ll be putting it back up again shortly.’
Now I’m in a conundrum. It would be a really great idea for the Agency to have all this informational stuff about publishing. We had a blog that used to talk about our clients and writing projects they were doing and such, but that all stopped when London and Paris left. I just haven’t had time. And, I really don’t have time to sort out the Agency blog, although all I would have to do is go through this blog and cut and paste the relevant publishing/agenting information into the Agency blog (minus the smack talk of course).
But can I be bothered? It would be great for the business, but I’m really losing momentum with the Agency since Giles has taken over. But, if the business doesn’t do well, I don’t have a job. Then again, I’m sure there are other things I could be spending my time doing. I just don’t know.
But the best part of the evening wasn’t the creative writing class, or even starting an unsubstantiated rumour that MyAuthor’s book would be turned into a film. It was catching up with MyAuthor. We haven’t properly chatted in ages. I filled her in on work, and she thinks that as soon as London and Paris’ suit goes through, then I will know what my legal standing is and I should leave. She thinks I should start my own agency, but I think I’m way to young for that.
She asked about HP, and I kind of lied. I just said everything was ‘fine’. She could tell though and all she said was, ‘Relationships settle into a steady beat, like a Waltz. But some people don’t like the Waltz because it’s too consistent, too predictable. Some people like Jazz. Maybe you like Jazz.’
God that woman. At first I just stared at her because I had no idea what she was on about. So we changed the topic. But on the train home today I was thinking about it. I mean, I’m not thick. I know she was making a reference to the mendacity of life and how some people just have to have turmoil. But, what threw me was she said, ‘Maybe you like Jazz.’ But it’s HP causing the drama with all his moodiness. I don’t think I like drama. Do I?