Monday, July 5, 2010

GUEST POST: ELLE STRAUSS "The Road to Publication or Writing’s A Little Like The Game Of PacMan"

I'm so excited to have Elle on my blog today. She has a wonderful blog you can check out here and she is repped by the fabulous Natalie Fischer of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did!

Do you remember that old arcade game PacMan? The little jellyfish icon (You) has to find its way through a dark maze to the end to win the game—only the world is full of peril, a little yellow biting mouth thing is chasing you and before you know it, you’re doomed, swallowed up by the little yellow biting mouth. The WIN alludes you.

The road to publication is much like that. It’s a dark and nebulous without much for directional markings. And if you are fortunate to make it to out of the maze unscathed, your victory dance is short lived—because there is ANOTHER LEVEL.

First Level: Write the book to the end. This is surprisingly hard. No doubt there is many a drawer with an unfinished novel residing in it (or computer file).
Second Level: Perfect the book. Since nothing is perfect this is a near impossible level to pass. You can see early on that we are set up to fail and only writers with Indiana Jones type luck, skill and bulldogged determination can ever hope to cross the gapping chasm to the....
Third Level: The murky waters of Querydom. This level takes a lot of mental fortitude to win. The little jellyfish icon must BELIEVE it can beat the level, and if it (you) keep trying, over and over again, you will succeed.
Fourth Level: Yeah!!! You made it to Agentdom! You spit on Querydom, and stamp on it with your jellyfish feet.
Fifth Level: Agentdom has an eerie resemblance to the second level—more perfecting with Agent guidance. Jelly fish sucks it up and perseveres.
Sixth Level: Whoo-hoo! Venturing out in Submissionville. So exciting, so nerve-wracking, so LONG. Some find they get antsy at just how long they traverse the maze at this stage and begin to wonder if they’ll ever see the next level—it’s some kind of purgatory, level six— endless travels down dark alleys....
Seventh Level: You did it! You got a book deal! You won the game!

Only now you find you’re in another game.

So, you’re wondering, If it’s so hard to win, why play at all? Because it’s FUN. And isn’t that why we started writing? Because we liked it? We thought it was fun. And that’s why we keep writing. It doesn’t really matter what level we’re on, does it? As long as it’s still fun. And if it’s not, well, maybe it’s time to give it a rest, find something else that is fun, right?

This is the reality on the bumpy road to publication—if you’re in it for the money, you’re going to be disappointed. If you’re in it for anything other than the love of the game, you’re going to be disappointed because many worthy contenders never make it to the seventh level. And that’s okay.

How about you? Are you still having fun?

See? I told you she's awesome. Very inspiring and true. I'm in this business because I love it and just can't quit. No matter how many levels I have to keep trying to pass to get there. Thanks again Elle!


Melissa said...

I'm a little IN LOVE with these Pacman analogy to writing. It's so....apt and honest and it made me smile like crazy.

I LOVE playing PACMAN. It's infuriating and annoying and so deceptively simple but I get sucked in every time and it is one of my favorite games to play. EXCELLENT post.

Melody said...

Wow, this was really good! It really broke it down, and it was very honest and real. Thanks!