Of the twelve months that make up the year, October is one of my favorites. Why? For one, here in Arkansas that’s when Fall weather really sets in, and I love cooler temperatures. The other reason…Halloween and the 31 days of non-stop horror movies. My daughter and I are the scary-movie aficionados in our family and October is when an all-you-can-watch horror movie buffet across a bazillion satellite channels are available. If you’re like me and enjoy the bombardment of scary flicks, here’s a piece of advice -- don’t schedule a regular physical this time of year. Your blood pressure will probably be elevated. :)
Of all of the villains, monsters, and paranormal manifestations that inhabit these type of movies, vampires are my favorite. I’ve always had an infinity for those creatures for some reason. There isn’t a vampire movie I haven’t seen, or book that I haven’t read. In college, my speech class was required to give a presentation designed to convince the listeners of whatever topic we picked. The speech that was voted most persuasive (by our classmates) was awarded an automatic A+. My topic – Vampires are real.
I took home the A+.
But there’s another reason I chose to talk about vampires today. You see, the nocturnal predators are primarily known for one thing…draining the blood from their victims until they are exsanguinated beyond the point of return. That’s something I can relate to right now. The victim part…not the killing part. And not blood, either. No, what I’m being drained of is enthusiasm…confidence…dogmatism. I can feel it being sucked from me…weakening my resolve regardless of my feeble attempts to fight against it. And who are the vampires in this scenario? You guessed it. Agents…publishers…the industry as a whole.
Over the past couple of months, the re-entering into the querying process has awakened the memories and feelings of the first time I went through it, and I can tell you unequivocally…it doesn’t get any easier the second time around. In fact, it’s far worse. You would think it would be just the opposite, right? I landed an agent once, so surely there’s another one out there that will see the potential in me that my first one did? But, it doesn’t work like that. With every rejection letter another ounce of positivism seeps away.
The agents and publishers aren’t evil-doing marauders, like the fictional vampires are betrayed, and it’s too easy to label them as the bad guy. No, they’re just doing their jobs. And no amount of sunlight, garlic, or silver crosses are going to help me, because I’m marching straight into their den with my neck fully exposed, a willing participant. You see, aspiring writers are simply the fuel they need to exist. You know what happens when you consume fuel, you create waste. And vampire waste is the empty shell of someone who used to be a person.
Or in this particular analogy – a writer.