Writing and agents and screenplays...
Growing up I dreamed of three things. Finding my soul mate, moving to California and being a writer, preferabley for the big screen. I wanted to write novels too but felt that I needed life experience to actually type out a full length novel. Sometime in my twenty-nineth year I decided I had enough observations and details accumulated so I pounded out a four hundred page missive. I was positive it would be published within a year. I sent off a round of query letters. I re-edited the book and sent off more queries. I waited. I sent more letters. I tooled around with the book again. But no bites. Mind you, I must have sent off about two hundred and fifty queries and received back almost as many rejection letters. Prone to depression, its very easy for me to get down and negative but hey, I read The Secret. I knew all I had to do was be positive...right?
Marilyn is a character in Fifty Cents for Your Soul
Over the next several years I went on to write more novels with female lead characters. My hook was that every book was somehow either about life in Hollywood or set in Los Angeles, entertainment capital of the world. I always felt somewhat confident that somewhere in this great country was the perfect agent for me. I just had to find him or her, like a needle in a haystack. I remained hopeful- for a while. It has not happened. I want to say I've sent off a total of maybe six hundred query letters, shouldn't that be a record? Is there a prize? I don't know if there is an agent alive who represents womens fiction that hasn't heard from me.
When I finished with A Thousand Dollars for a Kiss, I was so fed up with looking for agents and sending letters and emails and waiting, and waiting and receiving those cold, brutal rejection letters, that I decided to go with a small publisher and just get my book out into the world. The publisher did not do any marketing or advertising and left to do it myself, I truly didn't know what to do or where to do. Calls to magazines to review the book went unreturned. Book Soup told me basically that since I was a nobody and couldn't bring in five hundred guests, I was not permitted to come in for a book signing. I persevered.
After writing my Marilyn Monroe book, Fifty Cents for Your Soul, I was determined to edit and revamp and perfect the novel before the giant agent search took place again. At this point, I felt like a true pro at not only crafting a query letter but writing a synopsis and researching agents. A very smart and successful novelist read my book, suggested a few changes so I rewrote the book.
Another round of queries and another round of rejections- although most query letters go unanswered. I'm beginning to think its me. It's not going to happen, is it? At what point does one give up, throw in the towel and say, screw it. But I can't give up because somewhere I do believe there is a person who will love my writing and my stories.
Sooooooo, having always dreamed about writing a screenplay, I am now finishing up on the screenplay version of my novel. I thought maybe if I can do both novel and screenplay, that would make me so much more valuable. But of course there are queries to send and agents to find....
The thought of sending out even more query letters and waiting fills me with a dread as heavy as cement boots. I figured surely when I hit five hundred query letters sent, statistically, the odds were in my favor, right? My writing is good, fun and light novels. My (unpublished) book got rave reviews from those novelist-friends who read it. What more can I do but keep moving forward?
In my mind, the movie of Fifty Cents for Your Soul is already cast. Rachel McAdams as a young Marilyn Monroe. Amy Adams as the main character of Barrett. Isla Fischer as Carly, Barrett's rap talking sister. Carol Kane as the mom, Lydia. Shirley MacClaine as Letty. It's just what female actresses say they want- an emsemble cast of strong females.
When I was nineteen years old, I started persuing my dream of being a writer. I wrote children's books and sent them to Harper Collins in a white envelope, saying Dear Sir or Madam...In my twenties I wrote and illustrated books and I learned more about writing and the whole query letter and agent deal. In my thirties, I wrote my celebrity gossip blog and tried vigorously to parlay that success into a publishing deal like so many other bloggers before (and after me).
I suppose if you want something bad enough, which I do, you just keep going and you don't give up. And if you hang in there long enough, maybe you will reach your goal. I don't know. We'll see.