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Speed Dating and Fate, One Writer’s Moment

February 20, 2011

The main conference is over.  I am still here at the Mark Hopkins Hotel, an afternoon of downtime, before I take the additional session in the morning.  The post conference class is being taught by Donald Maass, the New York literary agent that scares me silly.  Wouldn’t you know, by means of one of those strange quirks in the way the universe has unfolded, I found myself speed dating with him first this morning.  I know, I am married, so let me explain.  Here at SFWC there is an optional session one can enroll in called Speed Dating with Agents.  The date with an agent to whom you pitch your work and yourself,  is a mere 3 minutes long.  It is the moment of truth when you get undivided attention from an agent you hope will be excited enough about your project to ask for pages. 

Lisa & Donald Maas

I wanted to speed date with Donald Maass, but I didn’t think I had the guts.  I had already been to his earlier group session and that of his wife, Lisa Maass, during which time I learned how much work I had to do on my manuscript.  Their presentation and method of bringing about discovery of character and story arc is nothing short of phenomenal.  So, I had him circled on my list of possible agents, but I wasn’t sure if I was going to follow through with it. 

How did I find myself at his table as my first encounter?  It just happened.  The agent I was aiming for was not yet seated, so I ended up in the chair in front of Mr. Maas.  I began my pitch, but he immediately took my written material from my hands, asking if he might read it for himself.  Since he had said in his session the previous day that he would know within sentences if someone had talent, I could barely keep my teeth from clattering.  Then, he picked up Cole Creek and my pages of Pacheco Falls.  I waited in anticipation, trembling from the inside out.  He told me I have a good voice, that the story of Pacheco Falls calls to him, but that I have work to do (this I already know).  He game me his card, told me to contact him after I did such work. 

I continued on in my rounds, speaking to several other agents.  Most of them asked for my work, a couple did not.  There are a few agents in particular that I would love to work

Tim Morley, urban pirate

with, their personalities and passion for authors and good writing emanating from their very beings.  After it was all over, I walked down the city streets of San Francisco to a Whole Foods I spotted last night.  I called Tim to let him know I survived.  I randomly burst into tears, so thick is my emotion about what I have learned and what I can do with this knowledge. 

As usual, my darling husband, centered me.  It is heady, this career change.  I feel the cogs turning, the locomotive of my writing career lurching forward and know that my success is in my hands.  My career could be labeled:  All parts included, just add dedication.  Assembly required.  I’m on if folks.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan green permalink
    February 21, 2011 1:21 am

    Henry says. aarrgh! To the pirate Tim
    sounds like you are doing well!

    • February 21, 2011 11:57 pm

      I think our husbands have something in common! We are bringing a wagon load of things in March. Leaving California March 7th. Hope to catch a glimpse of you all.

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