Saturday, February 19, 2011

Am I a Seven-Year-Old?

My seven-year-old takes piano lessons. He takes them... what he does with them is unknown.

When I was thirteen (that was, like, a couple of years ago...) I started to play the guitar.

Why? For the popularity of course :) I say that in jest, but there is some truth to it. It was cool to be that kid that knew how to play Crazy Train and Stairway to Heaven. But there was more to it. I wanted to learn those songs.

I wanted to feel the music hum through my chest as I strummed the strings. The feeling of accomplishment, completion, and mastery was my first taste of unadulterated joy.

I spent hours, upon hours, practicing. My fingers were literally bleeding, until they built the callous that made my finger tips iron-clad.

By the time I was about to start college (that was, like, a couple of years ago...) I put my guitar aside and focused on... video games, of course (What? School? What's the matter with you?).

I not only played video games, but I learned how to design them. I could play for hours, and would think just as long about what made some games better than others. My engineering studies fortified the designer, the problem solver in me. I got pretty good at it.

By the time I graduated, and entered the work-force (Yes, you guessed it, that was also a couple of years ago...) my friends and I decided we had enough energy and knowledge to launch a start-up video game company. We did. Had a lot of fun. I spent every waking hour drawing, coding, testing. It was a passion.
Hank from Beach Raiders - Art by Jack Edjourian - Partner & Friend (Copyright, 1999 Sudden Presence LLC)

Let's fast-forward to today... and get back to my son. We got back home and he had to practice. Had to, not because he wants to, but that's what he has been told to do.

He sits behind the piano, plays the song once and says, "Okay, I'm done."
"I want you to play it three more times," I say.
"So... two more times. I played once already. Two more is three. You said three."
"No, three MORE times, from this minute," I say.
"So, you want three more... then that's four. That's it, right?"

I know that this is typical of the generation. I get it. "Tell me exactly what you want from me, and I'll give that to you. Just as you asked. Nothing more, nothing less."

However, in that moment I saw my face in his. That is my pitiful attitude as it relates to query letters and synopsis. I've been looking for that magic formula. "So... if I have a hook, explain the plot, and the challenge, then I'm done. Right?" I have not treated this part of the process with the same passion that I give the actual novel. Seems completely illogical.

I am a realist. I study the rules of the game, and find the way to win. Everything I do, I do with pride. Nothing half-assed in my life. When I decided to get a graduate degree (yes, a couple of years ago) I went to a top-20 program and graduated with honors. When I decided to buy an espresso machine, I learned how to make the best damn coffee possible (come over and you'll never think of coffee the same way again :D ). I have never--ever--done anything with lack-luster passion for it.

So why have I not jumped into the query process with both feet? Why have I only queried four agents? Don't know, don't care. It's NOW that matters.

Release the hounds! Take the children inside! This'll be fun.

And don't expect me to blog about the rejections. I play to win. I'll tell you when I have found my agent, my partner. It may take years, it may be for another book, but when it happens, you'll know!

Until then, fight the good fight.


  1. I think most writers enjoy the creative process much more than the business side, especially because of the high likelihood of rejection. Over and over again.

    But all the successful authors are the ones who persevered. I have no doubt you'll get there someday. Good luck!

  2. Thanks, Gwen. I know you're right. We work so hard on the art side of the equation, that the business side seems to be "less desired" part.

    All I need now, is to get my hands on what a good Synopsis looks like. Oh, oh! Am I being my 7 year old again? ;)

  3. Meh. We live in a capitalist society. Either admit that money trumps art or move out of the country to a place where money doesn't trump art. And given that we know that money is greater, then it should be no surprise that authors need to be first and foremost...salesmen. Sadly, the Gecko on Geico commercials would sell more books than any of the writers (myself included) of any of the 200 blogs that I visit.

  4. Michael, do you think that Gecko is accepting query letters?

  5. You are very driven and the many years I have had the honor of calling you a friend I have known this to be true so your success is moments away, as far as the kids Alexia is the same way so Tony isn't unique in this instant gratification has always been the way, Alexia glows after a recital but practice is like pulling teeth.
    Love Jacko


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