Monday, September 29, 2008

Good to Know

When I get all full of the writing angst, Brandon reminds me that, if all else fails, he has the inside scoop with a certain publisher.

When he was nine years old or so, Brandon had a Commodore computer, a dot-matrix printer, and a concept for a novel. He saw an ad somewhere: an offer to Get Your Book Published! He got on the Commodore and wrote a letter to the company. He wanted to make sure he got the format right. He gave them an example of what they could expect from him:

Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz.

He also typed out the numbers and punctuation marks, and printed this out on his dot-matrix printer.

(He wasn’t going to put all the work of writing a novel if the the publisher didn’t even accept the dot-matrix print-out.)

Eventually, someone at the press wrote him back, someone who figured that he was a kid. The person wrote that they did accept that sort of print-out, but reminded him that, at this publisher (a vanity one), it was very expensive to publish a book, yadda yadda.

I love this story for so many reasons—for one, we laughed and laughed and laughed—but part of the reason it sticks with me is that it pretty much nails the writing angst at whatever stage of the game you're at: The combination of being earnest and afraid of messing up.

9 comments:

Amylouwho said...

My angst starts at the thought of writing anything of length.

I'm into the current issue of Brain, Child and as always, am loving it! I just read the article "Baby Weight" and was really touched by her writing. Every essay has some point on which I identify. It's nice to see that even though we sometimes feel our experience as a mother is so singular, every mother out there is going through similar things.

You have a great publication!

Jennifer said...

Thanks--I love it, too. Such fabulous contributors!

BarbaraCA said...

Just stick with it, and take eat ice cream/beer/movie/life breaks, and lean on writer friends when you start freaking out, and then write some more. One word at a time, eventually it will get done!

Jody said...

Maybe he should get an agent. I think his novel has a lot of potential.

Brandon said...

Please bear in mind that dot matrix is difficult to read.

BarbaraCA said...

That's my new stage name: Dot Matrix!

Jennifer said...

Ooh, that's a lot sexier than Ink Jet.

I don't know, Jody--I think after Ll, it became a little predictable. (What was it really, Bran? A sci-fi plot?)

Brandon said...

A bit SciFi, a bit Fantasy .... ;)

Jennifer said...

You're such a boy.