It’s been a busy week in my Wannabe life. On Wednesday, I finished a very lengthy and grueling third draft of my latest comedy screenplay. I was incredibly relieved to finish it. I really need some space from that one, so I am putting it away and not even looking at it until after Thanksgiving. After that, I hope to go through it and punch up the dialogue, strengthen the characters, and generally tighten up the story, all of which should be easier than banging out new pages every day. Of course, that’s what I thought this third draft would be like. It turns out, however, that the script sucked. I pretty much had to write it all over again.
When I finish a draft, especially a tough one like this, I can’t help but sometimes imagine that today’s accomplishment might be tomorrow’s rejection. I’ve been through the same drill with each script for the last decade and a half – draft a script, rewrite the hell out of it, query every producer that I can with it, some will read it, most won’t, and then once I’m out of production companies, I move on to the next script. Rinse, lather, repeat. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done so far on this script. I dragged myself out of bed at 5am every morning and worked on it whether I felt like it or not. I don’t wait for inspiration to strike. I don’t wait, I just DO. And somehow, between running a household, paying the bills, raising two kids, and working a full time job, I manage to finish a screenplay – one hour at a time. I’m proud of it, but I can’t help but wonder if it will eventually result in a success, or is this script just a bunch of future rejection letters waiting to happen?
I’ve been so busy writing this script that I haven’t had too much time lately to work on marketing the middle-grade novel I wrote last year. However, late Sunday, I took some time and sent out a few emails to literary agents. I can only do email because, at the moment, I cannot afford ink cartridges for my printer. If it wasn’t for my mother, I wouldn’t even have paper…The life of a starving writer.
On Monday, less than 24 hours after I sent out the email queries, I received a rejection. Such is life as a Wannabe in the digital age – bad news travels FAST.
On Thursday, the day after I finished my tough draft of the new screenplay and was wondering why I put myself through all this, I got another email. A literary agent in New York City requested the first 50 pages of my novel! I literally did a double take as I read the email. I finished this novel last year in November. For a solid year I’ve sent out queries to agents and for a year every single one of them said NO. It got to the point where I would sent out several queries, wait for the rejections, then plan to send more. It becomes so automatic after a year of rejections, I almost forget that once in a while, people do say YES.
The best case scenario is that the she will love the novel and decide to be my agent, perhaps putting me on the path to publication. Maybe I’ll look back and laugh – remembering that I actually had to wait for my next paycheck to buy ink so I could send out the pages. If nothing else, perhaps the agent will send me some notes on how to improve the novel. I know the story is strong – after all, the same story in screenplay version is currently optioned by a production company in L.A. The jury’s still out as far as whether or not I am any good as a novel writer.
Either way, it’s a win. I needed a win right now after having worked so long and hard on writing, even if it was on an unrelated script. It was wonderful reminder that today’s hard work really can be tomorrow’s success story. Even if it did take more than a year.