Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Words fail me, or "time-stealing gnome romance would be hot"

Well, perhaps words don't entirely fail me. "Horrified" comes readily to mind. I'm talking about this, which is a collection of wished-for projects as tweeted recently by US agents and editors. Really, this is just dispiriting. I will continue to ignore the marketplace and write whatever I'm writing.

What I'm writing, by the way, happens to be a detective novel called The Hanging Man, an alleged sequel to my forthcoming detective novel called The Transcendental Detective. I'm having a hard time staying focused on the investigation of the murder in this sequel; the mood of the detective is so much more interesting to me than the work she's doing. I take this as A Sign, and continue to pursue moods rather than clues. An inner voice, or possibly a form of transcendental knowledge, tells me that I'm on the right track even if it doesn't immediately appear so. Yesterday I wrote a long description of the painting which hangs above the head of the detective's bed, there in a Kansas boarding house. It is a very ugly painting, and a very satisfying description. Yes, I am certainly on to something here. Today, possibly, I'll write a scene where the boarders drink coffee and eat a mean breakfast, and there may even be clues worked into the narrative. My detective would tell you that clues are mere distraction, of course, though they cannot (alas!) be avoided entirely during the important work of detection. Aristotle may be discussed again; we'll see.


  1. According to that link, you might be better off if your protagonist is funny, sexy, gay, and hailing from North Korea. Your call though!

    --- NEPH

  2. Mr Bowman, how do you know my protagonist isn't a funny, sexy, gay, time-traveling North Korean-American lawyer who can also travel into the shadow world? I suddenly think I have a sure-fire bestseller.

  3. You'll have to sell your soul first!

    --- B Dawg

  4. I just got an email from the acquisitions editor at Mephistopheles Press. They made an intriguing offer that I'm mulling over.

  5. I've never even heard of any of these agents except for Janet Reid.

    They all want YA. So it's obvious we're all writing in the wrong genre.

    And could someone please explain to me what magical realism is exactly. It's either magic, or its real. You can't have both.

  6. Those were hilarious! I especially love the YA biker gangs at renaissance faires doing martial arts or whatever. Sometimes I think most agents are just complete idiots.

    I had to laugh like hell at this because I write what would be considered YA stuff (although I don't consider it necessarily YA, just stories with youngish people in them). If I didn't laugh, I would get depressed. Whaddya gonna do?

  7. "YA biker gangs at renaissance faires doing martial arts" Yeah, but they have to have real problems, right? Not just bad moods or teen angst. The story has to be elevated above that. I just want to say that I'm sick to death of genre labels.

    Anne, yes we're all writing in the wrong genre! But I really like the book you sent me. There was a moment when I wanted to see what else Rory and Minnie were up to, then I remembered that I was finished with the book and I got sad.

    Magical realism is a term used to describe fiction that is set more-or-less in the real world, but there are fantastical elements in the story as well. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the sort of godfather of this, but really you can trace it back to the oldest myths, where everyday things like lightning were considered to be animate spirits. I think that medieval European wonder tales and stories of saints, however, are the real source of today's magical realism, at least the form that comes to us from south of the border. Anyway, it's hip in some circles to invoke the idea of magical realism if you want to show that you're open-minded and edgy.

  8. If everyone wrote what all those agents want, the world would be a very sad place. It seems to me that they're all desperate for new ideas these days.

  9. Yeah, but the "new ideas" are just the same old ideas with different hats and backdrops. It might be instructive to see what writers are actually interested in writing about.