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1059. webfeet - 3/2/2013 4:27:51 AM

And that's what you call fiction.

There, I came on stage left from beneath a potted palm just when you thought I was dead, dressed in a sequined gown, clapping my hands.
Sur-prise! C'est moi. Webfeet. No, honestly, I don't expect anyone to embrace me with open arms after such a long absence. Perhaps I really was dead. The only explanation I can offer is that I have been so sad, no, I mean it, really, really sad after this whole awful year, or a few Awful years that I thought, why write? Who cares?
Well, dont pull up a chair because I might keep you here forever. But the long and the short of it is that I did after a very long and difficult struggle of rewrites got an agent. A very good, francophile agent who made me do morer rewrites. Yay! I thought. Ive made it! Everryone will be so proud. That didnt happen. To answer your question, cher Jenerstor, Not yet, anyway. we went througha round of submisssions last year with all the still existing publishing houses and I was rejected, some nicer than others. I learned there was too much french, my flawed. comic heroine was "unlikable" by Penguin and they all just were like she'sirreverent and funny, but...no platform. I hate social media. Does that surprise anyone?

So now we are down like in Agathe Christie's And Then There Were None, to a few editors who asked for rewrites. And now, begrudgingly, as part of my New Years rresolution, started a blog, Its not even running yet, but I have to pay someone in my yoga class to build it for me. i know, you think Im being cynical coming back here and that I sm going to promote my blog. I might.
But it was more like I really missed the days when I had fun writing and it wasnt being looked at by editors.

1060. webfeet - 3/2/2013 4:32:16 AM

Sorry for so many errors on the ipad.

Its like Helen Keller ballroom dancing.

But anyway, my heartfelt thanks for all the fun Ive had here, Alistair, Jenerstor, and Nuplanet and Marj and all those nice peopole, like Maria ne, and thougthful, and the list goes on and on. and Ill bbe in France in two weeks to bring the kids to see belle mere who is as evil as ever. so if you're in thesouth, look me up!

Gros bisous,

1061. thoughtful - 3/3/2013 3:24:16 PM

Great to hear from you webby....and don't mind about the blind editors...if they can't see your talent, we certainly can!

1062. Jenerator - 3/4/2013 6:59:07 PM

Webfeet,

I must echo what thoughtful said - we all certainly appreciate your talent. Think about it - it's been 15 years since I first started reading your writing and I always look for more!

Please push your blog once it's up and running. I'd love to read it!!

1063. alistairconnor - 3/5/2013 4:58:24 PM

oh dear... But it was more like I really missed the days when I had fun writing and it wasnt being looked at by editors.

This, I suspect, is the inchoate motive that prevents me from even thinking about doing anything at all about getting published.

That, and being keenly aware that I haven't put in the ten thousand hours that you need to spend before you can be much good at anything.

Keep on persisting, sister.

1064. webfeet - 3/13/2013 2:39:42 AM

Hi, sorry, I meant to include Judith and Arky, in my return bonjour, and I am probably leaving out many others. Marj. Marianne. It was so fun here.

All of your words are really kind. Every time a new editor reads my work, I feel like I am being skinned alive. Today, I had (presumably this is interesting) the bipolar du jour eperience that is the equivalent of gargling with rum in the a.m. and the. shooting yourself up with heroin in the p.m.

A really shitty publisher, lets call them "The Loony Press of the Bay area" rejected my work today after stringing me a long for a month (italicize, please). They think Im too sarcastic and again, too much french. I was almost happy, actually, that theyd rejected me when my agent called sympathetically to tell me because my nine year old daughter and I both agreed they were clearly weirdoes. So I went to my daughter's parent/teacher conference, bought a bottle of Cupcake chardonnay and then really pondered failure, and it wasn't so bad. Happily married, two great kids, food, etcetera, cupcake chardonnay, etcetera. Six p.m. rolls along. And then bingo!

An email from my agent ---and another editor (a good one)--- is liking it. So its like back to crack, because by this time tomorrow I will have a forwArded rejection in my box, or maybe the next day. And so the cycle of gargling with rum begins again...and again.

Alistair, you are a really good, sexy writer. Why are you writing about people with names like Hostettler? Jesus, its like Mel Brooks!

1065. judithathome - 3/13/2013 5:24:37 AM

Wishing you luck with the publishers...anything to keep you from that cupcake wine.

(Sorry..brunello fan here!)

1066. webfeet - 3/13/2013 4:35:53 PM

Either way they give you hang overs, Judith. but thank you.

Another thing, Alistair, about this je suis artiste state of mind--is that you are cheating yourself because at bottom we all want, no crave, approval for our work and seek resonance with a readership. It is my fault that I let criticism get to me, but I also, and here is the cringeworthy admission flowering to the fore, got better.( In terms of plot, structure, pacing). I have also had some well known editors review my work. And, I used all my ingenuity and commercial appeal--including abandoning a first novel on motherhood that was not working--to reassess and reposition my work for the market and get an agent. I have always wanted to be a successful writer so there is literally no question that I will do whatever it takes to get there while still writing for myself. But you must be honest with yourself. And persistent. Keep your ear to the door.

Also, not all criticism is meant to be constructive; it depends on the age, profile of the editor, and what genre they are looking for. They love to tag you for genre. Currently, I am told I fall within the cracks of all genres--neither mystery, women's fiction, romance...but this has more to do with the Pink and Blue state of publishing. Romance is now a totally acceptable genre not limited to southern housewives--with erotica no longer a taboo with Fifty Shades. Romance editors all unanimously hate my work, "too literary" not romantic enough. Actually, its been a mistake for my sgent to be pitching them all along. Broad tags like literary commercial fiction mean nothing anymore unless you are Margaret Atwood. And even then.



1067. webfeet - 3/13/2013 4:38:13 PM

Your genre might be Literary Apocolypto.

1068. alistairconnor - 3/13/2013 5:16:10 PM

I'm glad to hear that Real Life is good, Bibiche. Sad that getting published is such a hurdle. Oh dear, now I have visions of you jumping through flaming hoops at the behest of some manic publisher/ringmaster. Reading the Rushdie memoire is providing me with lots of glamorous visions of the booksy world. I confess that in my mind's eye, his second wife Marianne has your face (she's brilliant, but nutty as a cupcake. Apologies on behalf of my mind's wandering eye).

1069. alistairconnor - 3/13/2013 5:30:02 PM

Apocalypso? I can dig that. Kurt Vonnegut is a major influence.

I am starting to imagine finishing the ongoing vampire thing, then starting from the beginning to clean it up. Plenty of people writing decent things in science fiction or cyberpunk, my angle is to be more mainstream, grounded in the real world.

1070. webfeet - 3/14/2013 1:55:51 AM

That probably is a good idea since the real world is already sci-fi. I mean, if you wrote about space colonization, nobody would blink an eye. There's no reason why you can't do this since there are already talented, literate people out there who've built their professional lives in other fields and who are capturing what used to be fringe audiences with their work and turning it into gold. "Wool" is one of those strange phenomenons. Forget the author's name. Self published. Now mainstream.

Take Justin Cronin, the Rice University professor who write a vampire trilogy--, Rushdie is more glamorous (and maybe likes leggy. literate types or illiterate types) --but this is who you need to read!

A demain,

1071. thoughtful - 3/15/2013 1:49:14 PM

webbie, I still remember how much I enjoyed your tale of trying on dresses in the dress store....I think you should polish it up and send it to a fashion mag ... it was wonderful and I so related!

1072. Jenerator - 3/20/2013 9:25:35 PM

I love Brunellos!

1073. Jenerator - 3/20/2013 9:28:21 PM

Webfeet,

Just promise me this - that you will at some point post your blog or your essay or your book details here.

Deal?

1074. webfeet - 6/24/2013 5:55:41 PM

Alright, Im back. Its been a hellish two months which I will spare you.

However, there was a highlight from my trip to France in March I know you will all appreciate.

So my glamorous agent, K., has invited French cat and I to have lunch with her and her husband, at one of those pretentious, but jaw-droppingly beautiful villas in Eze Village, a stone throw from Monaco, with Cypress trees and the kind of plunging, Fitgerald-esque views that call up Jazz Age glamour and various dog-eared paperbacks over the last century.

Arriving early, French cat and I parked along the corniche (there was valet parking but we didnt seem to know that) and entered the white-washed pristine lobby of the villa (its called Chateau Estrelle or something) and took a seat on the canapes on the terrace, and ordered a white wine and people-watched, with front row seats, literally, of an international entourage that looked like they were in a Versace ad. They were speaking German, Italian, and the women wore dresses Ive only seen in Barneys. Everytime a new guest arrived, say a British ex-rocker type in red skinny jeans with his model girlfriend, thirty years his junior, tottering in heels that looked like Alexander Mcqueen torture devices, they would all put down their champagne flutes and engage in a horribly stilted round of painful introductions speaking tetbook english. The host, a german businessman, was wrapped in a pink pashmina. It was cold after all. And it was Easter Sunday on the Cote d'Azure.

It was Easter Sunday and the Mediteranean was sunny and blue (homage to hemingway awful writing) and, finally, K made her entrance like a Hollywood agent out of David O. Selznick (shes from CA). After kissy poos, we went down the grand stairs to the dining room, which was not quite sea level, but some guests were bronzing on lounge chairs a yard away.

Seated by the french doors, with a view to the banquet, (the entourage had since multiplied and were joined by "families" European grandmothers, all wearing Harry Winston and gowns, while I looked like I was going to a wind concert at Lincoln Center in pumps, black skirt and a sily gray top zi got cor fourteen euros the day before at Monoprix

1075. webfeet - 6/24/2013 5:57:30 PM

that was "silky" gray top.

I have to go do something unspeakably boring righht now.

To be continued...

1076. webfeet - 6/24/2013 9:17:58 PM

Seated next to French cat, who is playing the part of the elegant French husband perfectly, facingK., her husband and the sea, I feel like pinching myself. After all, isn't this a moment out of every writer's dreams? to rise from the Jack Nicholson/Shining moments of toiling in insane obscurity, to be toasting what feels like your-soon-to-be bestseller over Burgundy wine with your literary agent on the Cote?
After pleasantries, anecdotes and a trip to the buffet where various crustace and vials of basil puree mousse are on display, we get seated and get down to business. I feel jittery, and expectant, waiting for news about an editor in New York. Upon inquiry, I take a careful sip of wine as I wait for K's reply. Her hazel eyes hold mine. "So?" I gulp.
"She hasn't rejected it--yet but usually its not a good sign when they don't respond right away after being so enthusiastic."
Holding my attention, before I can even reach for the bottle, she gives me the look of a stern college professor. "You're going to have to do one more re-write."
Digesting this, like a bad oyster, I lift my crustacean fork, and, smiling through my pain, wheedle out the slimey innards of a sea urchin, all the while wondering who would play such an elaborate and cruel joke on me.
The lunch was nevertheless elegant, sumptuous and K. and her husband were entertaining. Passionate connoisseurs they had a gout exquis for choosing the wine, tomgo with the lamb, which, in the spirit of nouvel cuisine, did not look like lamb but a little ping pong ball. We parted ways at the top of the villa, after the entourage had long dispersed into their respective 'Mercedes.
Waving to K. and hubby with a view of the Mediterranean as a backdrop, I got into the passenger seat beside Frenchcat, and all I could think of, as we rode along the Corniche in the direction of the autoroute, was that I had to do one more, stinking rewrite. Merde.

1077. webfeet - 6/24/2013 9:23:35 PM

So, I did it. And, during the course of the lunch K. told me I needed a blog.

And now, Jenerator, Thoughtful and cher Alistair, et al, you have it.
www.frenchwomendontrun.com

I feel like I just came out of the closet. There is even a link by the book excerpts of K's agency, if you are curious.

it may chronicle my travails as a writer which I am inclined to do here, mostly unbidden, but it will also be a francophile diary, with odd insights and essays on our beloved French. Vive le blog!

Bisous!

1078. webfeet - 6/25/2013 5:21:55 PM

Thoughtful, Im so happy you remembered the dress scene in the cabine from Paris. I think, in the Parisian version, I couldnt fit into white pants in France without looking obscene. It was just one of many mortifying moments in dressing rooms in France. And I am not fat! And I certainly wasn't fifteen years ago. Gosh, that is a long time, isn't it?

I did do a version for my book, French Women Don't Run, when my character, who is post-partum and in need of a thalasso spa, is dress shopping with her french monster-in-law and her exquisitely dressed friend, Fabienne, and can't fit into any of the dresses selected for her. I added a pesky poodle, Fabienne's, who comes to a terrible end.

I was practically called evil by editors for that scene but I insisted on sticking with it. K tried to get me to change it, too, but I think its funny.

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