Tuesday, February 6, 2007

How to Get an Agent

Quick takes:

Belgian waffles: Still tasty!
Chicago Bears: Still proud of you!
Mayor of Boston: Needs a brain transplant

It is snowing in central Illinois today. That just stinks. I should be in the warm climes of Florida throwing jellyfish at tourists. We don't have jellyfish here, nor tourists or warmth. There's nothing quite as satisfying as watching a drunken tourist run around in circles with a Man 'o War stuck to his face. "Yaaaah! Yaaaah! Yaaaah!" he screams. "That'll teach you to pee in my driveway," I tell him.

It is tourist season, after all. Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting tourwists. Hehheheheheh.

Just received a shipment from Amazon UK. It contained a Terry Pratchett book, THE CARPET PEOPLE, an MG book by Dominic Barker, BLART II: THE BOY WHO WAS WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE--OR BOTH, and a new and massive Michael Palin tome, DIARIES 1969-1979: THE PYTHON YEARS. The box got here faster from the UK than it took me to send one book to my son at his school in Indiana. He decided he couldn't live without his copy of THE LAST TEMPTATION OF ALICE COOPER by Neil Gaiman. Strange book. I was iffy about it but my son is a fiend for anything about Alice Cooper.

I am currently reading BORN TO ROCK, by Gordon Korman. I met him a couple of years ago at a book signing and we had a nice chat. He said that his books had sold over a million copies and I realized I had started to drool a bit. I like to read first person books when I'm writing in first person, as I am with SUPER! If anyone wants to recommend a first person MG or YA that isn't about dead mothers, please do so.

I just finished a nice scene where my hero has to run away, and so he flies to the top of the Ferris wheel at the Navy Pier in Chicago. He sits in the top gondola and broods because being a superhero has really screwed up his life. Later, my hero lands on the pier and meets an old man who gives him a Life Lesson and ten bucks.

Quite a pleasing scene, if I do say so myself. One of those quiet scenes my agent is after me to write, because I'd rather write about riots and chaos and stuff exploding.

And now, the email of the day:

Dear Dr. Missy,

I want an agent but it's so hard to get one! They're slippery and slimy and have glands located near the base of their tails that can emit a painful electrical shock. What can I do?

Linda (not my real name)

Dear Linda,

You are messed up. You're talking about electric eels, not a literary agent. What is wrong with you?

In reality, agents are shy creatures who can often be found in heavily wooded areas. It is possible to capture one, but only with the right bait. I recommend using a finely blended coffee and a pastry of some sort. It is important not to touch these items with your bare skin because you might leave a scent that could scare the agent away.

My technique for capturing an agent begins with walking softly through the woods, making cooing sounds so as not to appear threatening. This is key—most agents are afraid of loud noises and will skitter away in panic if you aren’t careful.

I remember the day I first spotted an agent. I’d been walking though a forest for quite some time and was nearly ready to give up and go home for a bottle of wine or two.

Then I saw her! She lurked a few meters away, her wide, white eyes staring at me through a gap in a hedgerow. I caught my breath, willing myself to remain calm. Moving slowly so as not to startle the agent, I removed a cup of fresh latte and a chocolate éclair from my backpack. I set them on the ground and then moved to a safe distance.

It is important to be patient and not make any sudden moves. I found a seat on a tree trunk and watched as the agent sniffed the air, and after a couple of false starts, warily approached my offering. She gave me a quick glance and then greedily consumed the éclair, washing it down with the latte. Then she scuttled back into the undergrowth.

I returned to that spot in the forest every day for two months, always leaving fresh bait. I discovered that the agent particularly liked iced pastries with cream fillings and double-shot espressos. I gave her what she wanted, slowly gaining her trust.

Over time, I was able to move a bit closer to her, little by little, until the glorious day came when I held out my hand so she could approach and get my scent. After another month, she allowed me to stroke her head as I made soothing sounds while she gulped down yet another espresso.

My patience paid off. Six months after I first encountered the agent, she approached without hesitation, prancing happily in a circle around me, nudging my backpack for the goodies she knew it contained.

Finally the right moment came. As the agent sat next to me, her mouth wrapped around a chocolate-filled Bavarian. I carefully reached into my pocket and withdrew a blowgun preloaded with a tranquilizer dart.

She never saw it coming. I bound her hands and feet with soft rope, and with the help of another author, we attached her to a pole and carried her back to my truck.

After a year in captivity the agent finally signed me on as a client. It took a great deal of dedication, not to mention a small fortune spent at Starbucks, but it was all worth it.

Your friend,
Dr. Missy

Now I have to go outside and shovel the (*&$(*!)(! snow.



Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

Whoa! Bad back! Bad Back! No shoveling allowed. Offer someone a latte and chocolate eclair to shovel it for you. If worked with the agent and it would work with me. You crawl back in bed and take care of yourself.


"e" said...

Hello Dr. Missy,
You've been tagged. Your public wants to know six weird things about you - other than that you keep your agent hostage. Go to my blog for details: