Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A bit from Chapter One

Although I'm hardly a famous writer, I decided to post a bit of my own novel here on my blog. If you are not an aspiring writer you may not know the whole query deal where you send an agent a letter asking them to read your novel, or a piece of your novel in hopes they will love it and want to represent you. Then, if you are super lucky and talented and have put in the hard work it takes to be the next hot author, they will agree to represent you and editors will be clamoring to publish your book and you will receive an advance that will enable you to buy breast implants and a new Infiniti SUV with money left over to fly to Cannes for the yearly film festival.

But other writers like myself, labor day in and day out, trying to make contact with an editor or agent that falls in love with the book but to no avail. Letters are mailed, emails are sent as you wait in anticipation....and wait...and another month goes by and more waiting...meanwnile Im not getting any younger. Therefore I'm posting a chapter of my book here, casting a wide net for internet users to read my words.

And so I present to you, a little taste of What It Must Be Like To Sleep With a Star. Book three of my Distressed Jeans collection of written words just waiting for an agent.

a sample from Chapter One

If you ever spot someone sporting a mullet or a tight poodle perm, please give them my name and number and let me set them straight. There are certain things that are just unacceptable in today’s fashion forward society and really, the control top pantyhose with open toe sandals is just the beginning. After that it’s just an avalanche of poor sartorial choices from bohemian-homeless chic to spandex bike shorts and half shirts, especially those of the mesh variety.
I’ve been working on the New York Times future bestseller entitled, The Diva’s Fashion Bible. No, I haven’t secured an agent and no, I have only been making mental notes so I don’t actually have chapter one completed.

But in my own mind, I know it’s going to sky rocket to the top. How could it not, I mean just look at me! In my Prada ensemble, ( a brilliantly fashioned knock-off) croc skin heels and matching purse, the simple strand of elegant pearls culled from the finest oysters in the Caspian Sea, and my perfectly smooth strawberry blonde hair, high-lighted to achieve that ocean bleached, sun-kissed look, I am a picture of perfection. Now listen, it takes time and effort to pull this off effectively. You cannot just assume you can do it, most can’t. Many have tried, few succeed. For example, how many times have you paired a cotton pull- over with a poly-blend skirt and then stepped into low heeled loafers with trouser socks? Exactly.

Before you assume you know my type, cool your jets and let me introduce you to moi. Thirty years old give or take, I work at an illustrious magazine, Ladies Monthly. Have you heard of it? I didn’t think so. You’re not alone, sweetie. It’s geared towards middle- aged haus fraus with strictly a west coast demographic. Our advertisers are items like cleaning supplies, adult diapers and heartburn medication instead of Guess jeans, Tod’s bags and Tiffany jewelry. What was I doing here you are asking, I can read your mind. After a stint working at a national tabloid magazine, performing menial secretarial tasks like making copies and brewing large pots of coffee for executives who wore cheap suits and horrible shoes, I peaked and plateaued, then gave my two weeks notice. A girl like myself doesn’t toil away at grunt work forever. I was desperate for a place where I could move in and take over as a staff writer. And then take over period.

So I didn’t exactly stage a corporate coup at Ladies Monthly but I did get to see my name in print every month and the stress was low. Plus I worked with a bunch of women and I was not only the best looking, but by far the best dressed. With Vogue and Elle as my guides, I continued to wear clothes that made other ladies drool. I drove a neat little car and lived in a cute apartment. I was every inch the essence of a successful woman with money to spend and a life that others envied. Don’t you wish you were me? My paycheck afforded me all the clothes I wanted plus all the ice-burg lettuce salads I could eat. I had to sacrifice somewhere you know, and I would choose Armani over food any day.

At eight o’ clock in the morning after two venti non-fat decaf soy lattes with a single Sweet n’Low, I had zero enthusiasm and even less energy to begin my tasks. Unfortunately, I would feel the same on Tuesday and quite possibly until five o’clock on Friday. A memo floated down on my desk and I picked up the slip of paper that could only mean one thing: a meeting. Maddie Thorton, the editor of Ladies Monthly, loved to hold meetings just to remind us that she was the boss and every single detail had to be done to her liking. She was all khaki and chambray, but underneath the loafers and frosty blonde hair, she was a barracuda who was known to make grown women and the occasional man cry.

So everything wasn’t as perfect as I made it out to be. Every cloud has it’s Swarovski crystal- studded, sterling silver lining and mine just happened to be the fact I worked in a cubicle at the far end of the office, tucked away in the back where I could spend time reading my fashion magazines and indulging in various tabloids. I spent a lot of time scanning the internet for celebrity news. Just like shopping and looking at myself in the mirror, it was a harmless hobby.
Glancing at the pink slip, I saw I had fifteen minutes until the conference. I used my time wisely and got a mug of bitter coffee from the break room, chatted with the girls in advertising then went back to my desk to check email.

Aside from my fashion news and advertisements for porn and penis enlargements, there was nothing of interest in my box. I logged onto Ebay to bid on some Kat Savage concert tickets. One hundred and sixty dollars was a small price to pay for third row seats. Worth every penny. I would drag my best-friend Nicky along and we could get crazy and throw panties up on the stage. Just kidding, of course. You should know that I am too refined for such behavior, although it wouldn’t be out of character for me to toss up a friendly note with my phone number.

Let me fill you in case you’ve been living under a rock or on a planet where leg warmers are still in vogue: Kat Savage was a gorgeous pop star with hair as soft and fine as spun gold. She had big brown eyes and a wide smile filled with bleached white teeth.

The only problem was lately she was looking - how shall I say it? Trashy. Her normally glowing skin was pallid and haggard, dark shadows circled her eyes and her usually glossy hair was dry and limp. Each time I came across a photo of her in the magazines, my heart broke. Sure, that breakup with Trevor Lake was devastating. I mean, he split up with her via an interview on Entertainment Now. And if I hadn’t been sitting on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s with my Maltese pup, Johnny Depp, I would have read about it a day later when I received my US Magazine in the mailbox along with Celebrity Star and the Gossiper and I would have found out with the rest of the celeb-obsessed world. But as luck would have it, I saw it first with my own two eyes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
This is great, great, great! More, please! @ 3:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"ChickLit" is utterly boring and pointless. It promotes giving women a bad image: they appear superficial, daft and according to what you've written here - eating discorders are ok as well.

This is a waste of time and an insult to my intelligence.

Yaaaaaaaawn! @ 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Jeeze, I didn't think this was boring and pointless, I thought it was witty and relevant and hip and urban. And I'm an English major at Columbia. @ 4:16 PM  
Blogger Distressed Jeans said...
Well, thanks for reading nevertheless.

I will never in a million years claim to be the next literary genius. If people read the book and say, "That was a cute little novel." then my job is done.

Anon. 3:17, thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. @ 4:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Its Anon 3:17.

DJ, I am an avid reader of yours, and I think you are truly talented! I hope I didnt seem to harsh when I posted before...I just thought that you of all people were above this fluffy crap. My 16 year old sister could write this kind of stuff in her sleep.

I think that you can write a novel that is entertaining without making women look so stupid and indespensable.

Personally, I like my books with some meat on their bones, but thats just me. I enjoy books where I can learn something, not just pass the time.

DJ, I love you to death and I think you are capable of much better than what you have written here. I think you took the easy way out. You can write a novel 10 times better if you would write about something meaningful and not "cute". I dont think its your writing, because it certianly is witty....its just not interetsting. @ 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
DJ, I love your celebrity commentary and think you're among the better bloggers out there. I would definately buy your book. Having said that, I think you're capable of much more than this bit. Your CWFP blog rocks because you take the piss out of the superficial and celebrity culture while having fun with it at the same time. This short excerpt from your book feels like you're not making fun of the triviality and superficiality but buying in to it.

I'd be really happy if you chose not to write in a defined genre like chick lit. Please just make your own genre with you book.

I'm looking forward to seeing great stuff from you!
Best of luck @ 6:36 PM  
Blogger Distressed Jeans said...
the book starts out where the character is superficial and into celeb culture but by the end of the book has totally redeemed herself and actually changes for the better... @ 12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
First, I want you to know that I love your blog. I get so excited when I see you posted a new interview. Don't give up on your own writing. It took me a while to get my agent for my first novel. If you haven't already, I suggest doing the email query. I just sent about 50 emails- I found that was much better than snail mail where things just get lost. Thanks for sharing your writing too- I know that can be terrifying. @ 2:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
First, I want you to know that I love your blog. I get so excited when I see you posted a new interview. Don't give up on your own writing. It took me a while to get my agent for my first novel. If you haven't already, I suggest doing the email query. I just sent about 50 emails- I found that was much better than snail mail where things just get lost. Thanks for sharing your writing too- I know that can be terrifying. @ 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
First of all...DJ, you're an amazing writer without a doubt. You have a true talent. It's not easy to write a book. I know! I think it's hilarious that the same people who enjoy your blog on a daily basis have the nerve to make negative comments about your novel. Hello people - if you're reading about celebs, you're NOT that deep. I'm not saying you can't or don't prefer a more literary novel, but don't ask as if this type of reading is below you. I mean what are you doing reading about celebrity gossip if you prefer your reading material to have more substance? This book is in the same spirit as the blog, which I think is great. I just love how quick people are to judge, especially under the anonymous title.

ANYWAY, I think the novel is brilliant - very smooth, fun, light, and querky. I don't know how you've managed to write a book, maintain a COUPLE blogs, raise a family, and do all the other things you do, is beyond me. I'd buy the book. Keep up the good work.

Heather @ 7:28 PM  
Blogger ipod jeans said...
DJ- your my #1 blog! @ 4:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just because I read DJ's blog doesnt mean the only genre of reading I am capable of enjoying is chick lit.

Heaven forbid I look for a chuckle or a laugh to break up the work day by reading a blog I find entertaining. I never claimed to be deep - that was your assumption. I spend maybe 5 mins a day reading DJ's blog. But I spend probably one or two hours a day reading, and this is just not something that holds my attention. Life is too short for me to waste time on something so frivolous and trivial.

Like I said before, if I am going to read a novel, I want to walk away having gained or learned something. And this is not the case. I thought that when DJ wrote a book, it would show that she has things to talk about besides clothes, celebrities and eating 600 calories a day, but I guess I was wrong.

Laura P. @ 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Listen people, it's just fluffy fun. No need to get all serious and what not. Just an easy, relaxing, lighthearted read. Simple as that. Go pick up Steinbeck or Hemingway you dolts! @ 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I love it!! It seems like it would be a fast read and just what I would love to curl up with on a cold winter night here in Ohio. I'd buy it! Thanks for sharing, DJ! @ 2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Some of you need to lighten up. Not everyone wants to learn something every time they read a book or watch a movie. If I want to learn something, I read something nonfiction/educational, not a novel. Unbelievable how rude some of you are. My opinion. I enjoyed what I read and would love to read more. @ 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
this excerpt reads like a third rate jackie collins novel. congratulations, your book is sure to be a hit. @ 9:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
I'm anon 6:36
DJ put this exerpt here to get feedback from her readers and I gave my honest opinion. It's just my opinion, it may very well be that most other people are perfectly happy with the writing.
I read a lot and I like light reading and fluffiness just as well as more serious books, books can be entertainment - they don't all have to be about the meaning of life.
I'm not saying its horrible - I just think DJ can do better because I have a very high opinion of her as a writer.
The awsomness of her blog is such that I would buy her book just because she wrote it. DJ is brilliant and I really hope she gets published. @ 7:00 PM  
Blogger Faith said...
I have a well-known agent, and even though that is secured, it's still not as easy to get a novel to the editors as aspiring authors might think. It's truly mind boggling. @ 2:09 PM  
Blogger Distressed Jeans said...
Wow anon. 6:36. You really do flatter me, thinking that Im a good writer- thanks. Right now I need a swift kick in the pants to reach down and write a really fantastic novel. I do appreciate your constructive words. @ 11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
Why would you rather write a "cute" book than a good one? @ 5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
"What it Must be Like to Sleep with a Rockstar is pure drivel. An utter waste of time."

–Michiko Kakutani
New York Times Book Review @ 5:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
DJ, it is very brave of you to post your draft online, you should be very proud of that! My two cents are that your writing, especially the opening of your novel, needs to ground the reader in some more factual moments (i.e, where is your character standing when she is speaking this first chapter? what does the room look like?). It is very conversational, which is great in terms of setting your own style/voice and characterizing the speaker, but it moves way to fast for the reader-- SLOW DOWN!! You've packed in lots of juicy details but they are lost on me because I'm trying to figure out where the voice is coming from. Especially at the beginning of a novel, readers are looking to orient themselves to the story and need some direction. A story is not just a disembodied voice, you need to set the scene.

Anyway, I'm in the publishing industry but unfortunately we don't do fiction. However, the principles of good writing are basically the same-- show, don't tell. Good Luck!! @ 7:39 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...
Some posters here had some great constructive criticism. Others were clearly projecting their own expectations onto DJ's writing, which is ineffective & unhelpful. @ 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
catherine, i get PAID for the constructive comments. the other stuff is opinion. go find someone else to reprimand. yawn. @ 8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...
First, to the positivity police: I am not an intellectual by any means, in fact I find people who wear their "depth" on their sleeves to be utterly annoying. I don't something is bad because it is light or fun. In fact, I am a fashion model --can one get any shallower? Lol.

Second, DJ, your blogs are so consistently original and hilarious that it's startling, so much so that I used to think you weren't a real person. It is still hard for me to fathom how someone can be so funny. I have the highest opinion of your sense of humour and judgment.

So that said, I was glad you wrote that the main character goes through big changes later in your novel and I hope that that's where your originality and hilarity shine through.

I identify with the other commenters who were surprised that the amazingness we cherish in your blogs was not immediately transparent in the snippet of your novel. But obviously none of us knows what the rest of your novel is like and we'll just have to check it out when it hits Barnes & Noble's bestsellers shelves. @ 11:23 AM  
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