At the beginning of August, I joked with Jeffrey Richards that we’d come to the month where we stop counting rejection letters, and just collect the out-of-office replies. Like the therapists, the literary agents go away–and so, it seemed, did my ambition. Four of my submissions are floating around greater Manhattan, and I haven’t done much about them. But Google Calendar just broke the news that it’s September.
E-mail submissions make the job practically an afterthought, so one can in theory stay on top of the process with only an hour’s work a week–browsing forthcoming titles, looking up listings on Publishers Marketplace and AgentQuery.com, and tweaking the query letter. Hit “send” and you’re done. That’s good news, because walking to the post office with a stack of envelopes containing My Manuscript made me feel like a a young Judy Davis in My Brilliant Career. Noob.
Meanwhile, for anyone who’s actually wondering: I’m working on the next novel, and set a deadline to slow down my research on October 6. (Slow it down? asks a voice. By that might you mean, “Put it in reverse?”). Anyway, the goal is to outline the plot during my week at the Colonyhouse, October 7-11, and begin writing sometime in November. I’ve been grappling with the problems of knowing what my characters will do but not who they are, and whether the novel should actually be set in Gaza, rather than kept in a speculative world.
And I’ve been camping. Running the trails in Forest Park. Going TV-shopping with E. Reading Audrey Niffenegger’s new novel. Writers are so boring from the outside.
* I wonder if it’s possible to title every post on this blog using narrative cliches.