So, after your last literary humiliation, (see previous post) you have decided to seek professional help with your writing. You sign on for a writing weekend.
It’s going to be one fabulous party in which you will run into any number of literary folk. There will be workshops, talks and book signings. How could you possibly come away from such an event without advancing you career?
You have even taken advantage of the offer to ‘pitch’ your latest novel to an actual live literary agent or two. It has been some years since you last spoke to one and it may be safe to try it again, after all, the nervous twitch in your right eye has all but subsided. Equally the sudden compulsion to shout ‘Bitch’ and throw paper around the room is now firmly under control.
Consequently on the train you have been trying to hone your ‘pitch’. No matter how hard you try, it still goes something like this :
‘It’s a rambling, picaresque novel about a group of friends who’ve known each other for well, like, forever, and just keep bumping into each other over the decades, while, you know, stuff happens to them.’
You are aware that this isn’t good, but the closer you get to the venue, the more a kind of panic prevents you from shortening it, in fact it gets longer. You add:
‘ It takes place in flashback with split narratives and multiple points of view; oh and it’s funny.’
Then you add;
‘It’s a kind of David Lodge campus novel that meets John Updike’s ‘Couples’ , who then fall in love and conceive a William Boyd-esque thoughtful comedy’. You start sweating. The pitch won’t stop growing . It is spreading out like a giant octopus that has accidentally swallowed a whole website of illegal growth hormones.
By the time you arrive at the venue, you haven’t got even the vagueist idea of what your novel is about. You stand waiting to check in behind a very irate woman, who is complaining in a loud voice that her accommodation is half a mile away from the venue. She is furious.
‘I’m sorry Madam,’ the youth behind the desk explains, ‘ there’s no one free to take your luggage out to the annexe.’
‘But I’m a guest speaker’, she replies, ‘Do you know who I am?’
The youth ignores the irate woman and takes your ticket instead.
‘You are in the annexe too,’ he smiles at you by way of contrast, ‘ just follow the signs out of the door.’
‘Look on your list again,’ the irate woman insists, ‘my name is Golightly, Glenda Golightly.’
You gasp and check your form. She is one of the agents you are meant to pitch your novel to.
‘I’m not going out there on my own, in the dark.’ Glenda almost shrieks, as if this was yet another outrage perpetrated by the organisers.
‘Perhaps this lady will accompany you, she is booked into the annexe too’, the youth suggests mischievously.
Glenda Golightly turns her furious eyes on you and you mumble meaninglessly.
‘Oh well, come on then, but you haven’t heard the last of this’, says Glenda waving a vermillion- tipped finger at the sniggering youth.
Within a minute you are arm in arm with one of the most powerful literary agents in London, staggering out into the night over uneven gravel, trailing suitcases on wheels.