Friday, June 20, 2008

The Gargoyle

Today's lesson is that you don't have to do everything right--in fact you can do everything wrong and still come out on top. Of course you must write a good book. Eventually.

The Wall Street Journal has the story of a young novelist who wrote a 195,000 word book and sent it off to agent Eric Simonoff along with a cheeky query. The novel was Gargoyle. Parts were good, parts were bad, but the good parts were good enough that Eric Simonoff sent back a detailed critique (almost unheard of) and much later the writer presented Simonoff with the much edited, much improved manuscript.

The POD technology allowed the author to actually send Simonoff a printed copy of the book, with blurbs, a dedication and all that good stuff. Even cheekier.

Cut to the finish. Author gets one million plus, and Simonoff gets fifteen percent. Copies translated to every language you ever heard of and some you didn't.

The author is Andrew Davidson of Winnipeg and he is to be congratulated for his originality, persistence, and creativity. What rules did he break?

1) Your first novel is supposed to be 80,000 words of less. Hmmmmm.

2) Query respectfully.

3) No gimmicks.

4) Took years to write. No pumping it out in twelve months.

I love it. I love it. I love it. Love people who break the rules and get away with it. The novel, Gargoyle, sounds riveting. You can catch the article here.

Small worries that the book may not play in Peoria, but so much of that sort of speculation is hogwash. Great word, that. Hogwash.

Sidebar: I love gargoyles, especially the ones on Notre Dame and St. Stephan's church in Vienna. We found a tiny church with a Tiffany window in Georgia's Sea Islands that had a few very cool gargoyles. My youngest son used to amuse us by crouching like a gargoyle, holding the position for a long time. But then we are easily amused, "too soon made glad," as you recall.

Trekked to West Newton Cinema to see The Counterfitters, an excellent foreign film. See it if you get a chance. We watched (and watched and watched and watched) Barry Lyndon last night. Interesting. Langorous. Another good word. So many good words. Note to self: use them in interesting ways.


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