Well, folks, I’ve done it. Opened myself up to abject humiliation and despair: I’ve submitted an original manuscript to my agent.
Some of you know that for the last fifteen years, I’ve written some original fiction, which has been published, but the majority of my work is commissioned. That means someone asks for it, and I produce it. They want it. They asked!
But for various reasons which are too embarrassing to mention here, my agent gently suggested I might want to think of writing a piece of original fiction again. A novel, he meant. And because I didn’t have a whole lot of better options, I agreed that he was probably right.
So I wrote it – all 15,000 words. It’s a middle-grade novel for girls, and it’s about one of the great loves of my life: horses. Actually, it’s about one particular horse I used to know and whom I’ve never forgotten. He wasn’t exactly a dream steed, but he did teach an extremely undersized and fearful nine year-old some important lessons. Not through the nobility of his character either, you understand.
It’s awful, writing your own stuff. It’s embarrassing. It’s like taking off all your clothes. It’s like being drunk in public. It’s like showing everyone what a sloppy, hot mess you normally are. And that’s when the writing is good. When it’s bad, it’s like all those things plus stupidity.
One fellow writer, whom I admire, suggested that I might celebrate turning a manuscript in to my agent. He’s clearly insane, though a nice man. Another friend texted me, when I told her that I’d turned this manuscript in, “That’s awesome! Now you can punch yourself in the face.”
Now that girl understands me.