>Ever see a movie where someone is outside getting bad news on her cellphone and then suddenly the sky opens up and she is getting her bad news in a very symbolic rainstorm? I always think stuff like that never happens. Oh, how wrong I was.
Wednesday evening, I got an email from a friend who is a literary agent. He said that he wanted to talk to me about the two book chapters I sent him and would call me the next day. Based on the terseness of the email, I assumed that he wasn't planning to tell me I had just written a best seller, so I prepared myself. We didn't catch up until a few mintues ago, when I called him while I was walking home from work.
"Let's start with the bad news," I said optimitically.
"Well, there's not bad news per se, but not great news either," he began. I braced myself. "There's no narrative arc. It seems like you just put two essay together. Also, there doesn't seem to be a lot of character development. You are telling me a story, going from one line to the next zinger, which is great when you tell me a story, but not good writing. That's a minor flaw - the writing is not good."
"Uh, a minor flaw?" I said laughing painfully as rain drops splattered around me. "It seems like a big fucking problem to me."
"Well, you've never written a memoir before, so don't be too hard on yourself," he said kindly.
I swear as I hung up it stopped raining. It was weird, and while i was glad to not get soaked and appreciative of his brutal honesty, I have to say it sucks. I thought that I had made major improvements in showing, not telling and all that. Look, I know that I didn't become a miserable child care facility expert overnight. It took years before I was utterly miserable but super knowledgable. I'm sure that the writing thing works that way, too, and I haven't even been at it for a year. But this is really disheartening. Sometimes I think either you have the talent or you don't, and if you don't have it, there's no amount of practice that will make you good. I am really fearful that I just don't have what it takes.
At least its not raining any more and I can finish walking home. (Yeah, I stopped at my gym, which has internet access, on the way home since I was so upset.)