Tightened up the Query Letter, and emailed it to four agents. Now I just have to play the waiting game... If I hear back negative from all four of them, I'll send off the next batch via email. If that volley fails to hit, then it's time to start sending physical mail.
I'm fairly confident that at least one of them will request to read some chapters. When I tried for the first time with this book last year, I sent it out to three agents, and one of them requested a sample. Ultimately they decided against it, but that's okay... My book's better, now.
Also went through the second chapter for the Nth time, and improved the flow a little bit. Removed some snags that slowed it down near the end. I'll be reading this at the next Workshop meeting, is why I took a look at it.
Still playing around with the structure... Wrote some more, and I think I'm going to give it a rest for a week, or so. Switch it up and work on the Marvel Idea, which I'll probably have ready to send out by next month.
Nine people showed up. I was surprised to all hell.
The same three guys from last time were there. JT read some of his work, which he was now describing as "my autobiography told in a D&D world." Jeff read a very well written piece — the style was very "period," which fits the plot of the story. Will handed out something about the Dan Brown Plagiarism Case — part of it, an interview where he states that he writes first thing in the morning everyday. That is reason enough to call for the grizzly death of this man... The morning is not for writing. The morning is for sleeping... And by Grizzly Death, I mean being ripped apart by Grizzly Bears.
The rest of the new-folk were regulars that didn't make it last time. Except for Alan, who was visiting from Washington State and decided to sit in.
The others were Richard, Mary, Michele, Mary and Nanette — all of them regulars, and it seemed that children's books and "inspirational" works were what most of them dabbled in. Most everyone brought something to read, and I was hoping that we would run out of time. But it seemed that I was the only one worried about the time... We started at 7pm and ended at 9:15. A little longer than I was prepared for, but I might be able to fix that next time.
No one had copies of their work for us to read along with, and that made it very hard for me to follow. My mind wandered as I listened — I would try to analyze something, but then loose track of where they were going, and would forget what I wanted to say. Everyone seemed kind of paranoid about bringing copies of their work. They were worried about their stuff being stolen, and that didn't stop me. It could also get expensive, so there's also that to consider.
One person had poetry to read, and there was no critiquing going on — just a huge ego wank-fest, telling her that they liked her stuff. I said that I thought it was really hard to help someone work on poetry, because it is much more about form — the art in its physical form — than nuts and bolts. You either get a poem, or you don't. I don't really see how you can say that one thing needs to be changed or worked on, because it all is a part of what the artist is trying to convey.
A poem is like a painting, and a story is like architecture... You can't tell an artist that their painting is "wrong." You either like it or you don't. With an actual building, you have to look at it and see if it will work for what it was designed for. It needs to have a kitchen if it is to be a restaurant. It needs a roof if you don't want the things inside getting wet.
It was nothing against her, I just didn't think I could be of any help, and if others did think that it would be constructive, then we could bring poetry to the group. It wasn't a knock on her. She put her papers away in quick deliberate motions. Movements punctuated with the ends of each of her sentences having a hard stop to them. I could tell how she really felt — she's no actor, and I write... I have to be good at noticing things.
No. That's okay. I just won't bring in anymore poetry. Good thing I write short stories too.
I tried to wrap everything up, when I was asked if I had anything. I handed out three of the six copies I had made, and began to read... It seemed as if all the noise going on in the cafe — the coffee machines, music, people talking, plates and silverware beating together — all of that stopped while I read, making me worry about what someone not in our little group might overhear and possibly report to authorities... I kept my head down. Not wanting to see their reactions or loose my place.
I finished and looked up. It was just silence for a moment. Like they needed to catch their breaths. Then they went around saying they liked how I was able to get into the main character's head, who is a woman. That they wanted to know what was going to happen next, so I better some more next time. They didn't have anything constructive to say, except that with this big of an introduction, the rest of it better maintain, and that was a bit of a disappointment. But I have been working on this — especially that first chapter, which is the very first thing for this book I wrote — for almost a year and a half...
The woman that had read the poetry was red-faced pissed beyond being able to speak. She said that she didn't like that sort of thing. That rape isn't something that you can just write about like that. That it can be turned into something else too easily.
Some said that they didn't like how graphic it was, but I told them that without it, you wouldn't see how horrible a thing this was. You wouldn't be able to empathize... But I didn't care. I got the reaction I wanted. I was almost more happy with seeing how angry I made someone. The reaction. Just by using some words. And not everyone had that reaction — everyone else really liked it. That's how I know that I wasn't being gratuitous. That it wasn't just Shock Value...
There are three to four more chapters as expletive as the first one. I don't think I'll read those ones to these guys... Maybe just the "Doll" one, because that's kind of important to the plot. And because every time I read it, I feel light headed. Seriously. Physically I feel off just by reading it. And I wrote it.