Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cautionary Tale

In the last two days at work, I've received two calls from literary agents. Now that doesn't sound like a lot, but keep in mind in the last three years these are the first two calls I've had from literary agents. The first agent wanted to know the proper way to query a publishing company. Huh, don't they teach that in agent school? She honestly didn't have a clue, (The second one was equally clueless).

To me, this is a huge red flag. Is it worth having an agent if the agent is just going to page through the market guide to find publishers? My thought is probably not.  I now understand how important it is to ask questions, to make sure that the agent who wants to represent me, is someone I want to representing my work.

These agents, I'm sure are exceptions. Most agents are competent and possess a breadth of publishing industry knowledge- and have established contacts in the business. It's important, though, to keep an eye out for the ones who aren't competent and who don't know the business. Anyone can give themselves the title, literary agent. It's important to find one that's doing it for the right reasons and knows the business.



Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Bear Cub and the Cougar

Today, I watched this video and it dawned on me that in less than four minutes, it successfully creates a beginning, middle and an end to a very exciting story.

I’ll start with the beginning; you have a young bear cub (our Protaganist), hanging out in his world- just rubbing his backside on the grass. It’s like any other day.

Then enter the Cougar- our Antagonist, hungry for a meal. The Cougar spots the young bear cub before the Bear Cub spots the Cougar. The Cougar, smacks his chops and slowly makes his way toward the Bear Cub- now his prey ( The Inciting Incident). When you think the Bear Cub is in serious peril, he stands up sees the Cougar and tears off running. But he’s small-- his legs aren’t as long and he’s not as fast as the Cougar. He looks back and sees the Cougar gaining on him. He climbs onto a branch that has fallen and is wedged between two cliffs. For a few seconds, the Bear Cub, you think, is going to be okay.

 The Bear Cub gets to the end of the branch and has no way to get to the other side. Meanwhile, the Cougar is heading toward him. The Cougar climbs on the branch just as the branch snaps, the Bear Cub plunges into the water. (Just when you think the Bear Cub is safe, he finds more trouble- the stakes get higher). He escapes the Cougar but now he struggles to keep his head above the water. The Bear Cub grasps part of the branch. He clings to the branch as he’s pulled downstream by the current.

(Thus giving the Bear Cub and you the viewer a false sense that he’s going to be safe). But as he goes downstream with the current, the Cougar follows his path along the river’s edge. The Bear Cub gets to shallow water. As he does, so too does the Cougar. The current carries the Bear Cub to where the Cougar is waiting for him, the Bear Cub swims away with the Cougar close behind.

(The Climax) The Bear Cub climbs up on to jutted rock. The Cougar climbs to one next to him. The Cougar strikes out with his claws and bloodies the Bear Cub’s snout. The Bear Cub roars and you see the Cougar back down and walk away.

(The Denouement)What you don’t see until after the Cougar is out of the frame is that Mama Bear is standing behind the Bear Cub. She’s on her hind legs and is ready to take out the Cougar if necessary- it isn’t. Instead, Mama Bear calls her cub to her. The Bear Cub goes over to his Mama, nestles close to her and she licks his wounds. Exciting stuff.

You can check it out here:
The Bear



Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Baby Steps

Since I moved into the condo, anytime I turn on the ceiling fan in the living room, Lucky gets real low to the ground- like it's Viet Nam, and runs under my bed and stays there the rest of the night. I stopped using the fan for that reason. Tonight, I turned on the ceiling fan- it's so hot in here, I had to.

Immediately, Lucky ran for the bedroom, then caught the cool breeze and stopped. He stood in the doorway for about 15 minutes and stared at the fan, cooling himself. He finally ran through the living room to the front hallway.

It's a step in the right direction! Good boy, Lucky!

Stay cool...



Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Fourth of July

"We find these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Happy Fourth of July- may we someday live in a world where all men and women are free.