Sunday, December 02, 2007

I think I did a good thing this week

There's an older gentleman, a copy editor near retirement age, I work with at my part-time newspaper job. He and I got to talking a while back, and he informed me he had written something like three novels and had had a handful of short stories published, including a few in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Of course I told of my own interests and hopes, and he asked if I would like to take a look at a couple of his short stories.

"Sure," I said.

So, the next day he brings me a couple of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazines from the early 1990s.

I read his stories.

One was okay. Not great, but it didn't suck, and it showed talent.

The other one ... that one I really liked, about 1930s gangsters in St. Louis.

I returned the magazines to him the next day and asked him what he was currently working on.

"Oh, nothing. I haven't written anything in 10 years."

I think my jaw dropped. I asked him why he had not written anything, and long story short, he just got fed up and disenheartened with the whole process. He had had an agent, but the agent had not been able to place any of his novels anywhere.

"How many publishers did the agent try?" I asked.

"Ten," was the answer.

"Ten! That's nothing!" I hollered in the newsroom.

So, I sat down with him and we had a little talk. This fellow is also a somewhat accomplished water color painter, so it's not as if he has no artistic outlet, but I sort of felt like it was my duty to get him back on the writing path. I hate to see anyone who's put that much work into something to give up.

I talked to him about how the Internet had made it much easier to submit to a lot of agents and publishers. I told him how there was a bit of a resurgence of hardboiled and mystery fiction, the genres he prefers. I also explained to him how, mostly through the Web, it is much easier for an author to deal with smaller publishers without having to bother with an agent.

And, most importantly (I believe), I explained that I thought he had some talent.

By the end of a half hour or so, I think I had him hooked again. Least, I hope I did.

I guess time will tell. Again, I hate to see anyone's dreams swallowed by life.

And, to tell the truth, I didn't want that to be me in another 20 or 30 years. He wrote three novels. I've written a trilogy, about the same. But even if my trilogy never sells, I will write another book. That might even be my goal for 2008, to write another book (preferably not a trilogy this time).

I think I did a good thing. I hope I did. And I hope he gets back in the biz and starts writing and submitting again.


Anonymous said...

I think you did a good thing too. (Slap on the back.) Good on ya!

Ty said...

Hey, wayne!
Thanks for dropping by!
Come back and leave plenty of comments whenever you'd like.
And good luck with your writing.

Howard von Darkmoor said...

You done good, ol' feller! You done cheered Tyler up just when he a needed cheerin'. Nope, ain't not a doubt about it - ya done good!