The Good News

When I was young, my mother told me I’d gotten a phone call. I was whining about what terrible news it was certain to be, and she said, “How can it be good news if you don’t leave room for it to be good?”

I think of this every time I’m about to open a SASE. You know, the letter that, incredibly, some very high-end literary agents still use—no internet for them. My natural pessimism kicks in until I remember my mom, and I think, Ellen, you need to leave room for it to be good.

Today as I slit open the letter, I took it one step further. I said, whatever is in this envelope is good news. There’s lots of ways to spin this into truth, the primary one being he or she wouldn’t have been the right agent for me anyway. More importantly, it makes me read the letter looking for the good in it, which might otherwise slip by unnoticed.

I’m not going to identify the agent—she probably didn’t expect to be quoted, and I also don’t want anyone to be negative about her. To be clear, she did NOT offer representation. What she offered was hope.

She praised my characters, my writing, my keen observations, and my publishing credentials. I don’t mean to be blasé, but she is not the first agent to do so. What she did that hasn’t been done until this draft of the manuscript was to praise the storyline.

I have worked so hard on the story. I poured my heart into fixing the plot, making it work, pulling it into something desirable in a process that reminds me of my grandmother hand-pulling old-fashioned taffy, the taffy searing to the touch, Mamo working it into ropes before it cooled too much to be formed. To have someone say the narrative promises to be unique and entertaining is balm to my soul.

That’s good news.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

agent, agent rejection, agent submission, getting an agent, how to view agent's rejection, query, querying, revising, revising your novel, rewrite, train

Comments (6)

  • Yes it is!!!!!!

    From: blog Blog Reply-To: Ellen Morris Prewitt’s Blog Date: Wed, 3 Sep 2014 01:00:08 +0000 To: EMMA Subject: [New post] The Good News

    WordPress.com Ellen Morris Prewitt posted: “When I was young, my mother told me I’d gotten a phone call. I was whining about what terrible news it was certain to be, and she said, “How can it be good news if you don’t leave room for it to be good?” I think of this every time I’m about to open a”

  • I am going to take your mother’s words to heart for other reasons, Ellen and quote her to my children who, after their first day back at school today, are not leaving much room for it to be good.

    Good news for you – bravo!

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      I thought, how can your thoughts change the outcome of an event that’s already happened? But something about it reminds me of Einstein (which my mama would think was quite funny!)

  • I never knew a novel and fresh-made taffy had so much in common, but now that you say it, I can’t think of any more accurate way to describe it. Though your hands may still be tender from all the pulling, in the end, the right person will buy your taffy and cut off pieces for the rest of us so we can chew its sweetness and bless the hands that made it. Keep on keeping on. I still have no doubt of your success. Not a one.

    • Ellen Morris Prewitt

      Thanks for extending the metaphor to include my readers, essential participants. And thanks for your supportive belief.

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