I met with an agent, today during the Writers at Work conference. I often wonder, why is this a privilege? Thirty minutes of criticism on a work that's taken six years to complete. He said some very nice things and had some simple suggestions for fixing the first 20 pages of the novel (which is the part I sent him.) If he'd received the manuscript with the first 10 pages as the beginning, he wouldn't have taken it, he said. But, he said, if he'd received it and it began on page 10 he would have wanted to read on and on. OK, then, so, why not ask to see the whole thing, sans the first 10 pages?????? Read on and on, I should have said. Should I have asked, may I send it to you after I rework the beginning? But, he suggested no such thing to me.
He also made some other simplistic suggestions, like make all the chapters equal length, that made me think he wasn't right for my book. But still, if he said, I would have loved to read from page 10 on, and said I love the writing and I love these characters, why not ask to see the whole thing? Why the subjunctive? Change your tense, I wanted to say.
Ah well, perhaps it's just the nature of conference consultations--they come completely guarded against desperate wackos. Though this process may well make me a desperate wacko.
In general, this conference is turning into one of my least favorites. While I like most of the faculty, I feel disconnected from the whole thing--like I wasn't really invited, let alone that I helped to organize it. I think it's the pregnancy oversensitive thing.
I'm going to try one more time to have fun and go to this fancy schmancy cocktail party. If things turn around, I'll do more later this week. If not, I may not go back--even though I really want to see Crystal Williams read on Friday night.