distraction no.99

Nova Ren Suma | On Writing & Writing Distractions

Not an Author Newsletter… something else.


One perk to living in New York City that I’ve just learned about is if a New York agent likes a story you published in a journal and contacts you to see if you’re represented and you say no and then she wants to see more work and you send in more stories and an excerpt of a novel and she likes the stories especially but doesn’t think the novel is the right one and maybe you could turn one of the stories into a novel and she wants to see what else you can do and to maybe see if you can work together in the future, instead of getting that news in a form letter, you can talk about it in person. So I had a meeting at her offices yesterday. I told my boss I had a lunch “appointment” that would run longer than an hour—and it was only on the subway headed to the meeting that I realized this veiled “appointment” language (and the new red sweater I had on) may have made it seem that I had a job interview. I did not.

I was nervous. I don’t know how well I come across in person. But at the same time I knew that nothing concrete would happen and so that was sort of freeing, just going to talk to someone who liked my stories and had advice to give me about what to do next. She had a beautiful office, a beautiful cat, beautiful chairs to sit in, the books on display beautiful, all very impressive, and her enthusiasm and interest in me were strange but exciting. We spoke about the future of literary fiction. We spoke about needing a novel in order to sell a short story collection. I liked her. I wish I could tell you that I came away from that meeting with an agent. I did not.

But it was a good meeting all the same.

Also, while walking outside, I saw a familiar face on the street: Agent Cooper. His hair was longer, and lighter, and he was not wearing a black suit, but I’d know him anywhere. When it started to snow, light fluffy flakes, the day was complete. I don’t know what will happen with this agent (not Agent Cooper; the literary one) in the future, how it will end. But on a day when it starts snowing, and you see Agent Cooper, and you talk to someone who likes your stories, I guess you’re doing okay.

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11 responses to “Appointment”

  1. Lucky lucky. 🙂 Maybe I’ll get to run into Agent Cooper, too, when I visit NY.

    [from a lurker & fellow MacDowell alumni…]

  2. This encouragement is so lovely and exciting. I’m glad it’s lifted your spirits, as it sure has lifted mine to read this. And what a fantastic way to start the holidays.

  3. OMG–I TOTALLY love Agent Dale Cooper! That character was my obsession in high school. Yes–Kyle MacLachlan now acts in Desperate Housewives, and his hair is longish. He was better as Agent Cooper.

    Okay that said–I am SO happy for your uplifting meeting. These are all signs that say you need to, should, push forward with your writing.

  4. Nova – -TOO THRILLING for words. My heart was hammering as I read your post. How wonderful, and encouraging, and woooooo!

  5. woot! I loved hearing about this meeting, the whole of it, down to your red sweater and the agent cooper sighting. It’s going to be a really wonderful year next year. xoxo, L

  6. It sounds like a wonderful, positive meeting that will lead to a wonderful, positive 2008 for you, Nova. How lovely and inspiring to have some clear interest. See, your Mom and your E are right!

  7. I am a ficiton writer who escaped N.Y. and moved to the Sandhills of N.C. Visit me at the first physician bluegrass fiction writer’s weblog. My next to last post is about how to get (and keep) a literary agent.


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