I was in the library a few weeks ago and put my name on a waiting list for a chance to brainstorm my novel idea. I was told there was a waiting list, so I put my name down and forgot about it. A day before the event I got a call from a librarian telling me all the others had dropped out and they had a slot open. This meant that I now had to describe my idea, then create three-pages of excellent writing. The idea had been germinating for months. It was not the product of a well planned effort created in the bowels of a literature course from an esteemed instructor in a prestigious writing program. It was an idea based on old notes I had written on a beach in Rio, the writing blurred from the seawater and sand still in the pages. To prepare for my session I got up extra early to correct any spelling mistakes. When I signed up for this I had no idea I would be talking to the only literary agent of some repute in the room. Yet, I persisted. The odds of actually meeting a literary agent are about the same as having an encounter with aliens, being struck by lightning twice or winning the lottery. For the record, I have written two unpublished novels, neither of which has been seen by an agent.
INT. MEETING ROOM- DAY
The room is spacious with tables set around the room. Various PUBLISHED AUTHORS talk to nervous NEOPHYTE WRITERS.
CUT TO: MICHAEL sits down on a metal chair. The agent looks at a one-pager describing the story. She looks confused.
No. I am Michael.
I don't have a Michael.
Twelve-ten. I was on a wait list. The others dropped out.
She taps her pencil on the paper.
FADE INT. FANTASY SEQUENCE - DAY
Soft focus as POV centers on the agent. She is attractive, wears a black sweater over a black blouse and every accent supports the look of a literary agent sent by Central Casting. She has black hair and penetrating dark eyes, behind glasses half way down her nose.
Do you know that you have the eyes of a Falcon?
I wasn't aware of that. And what kind of eyes are those?
A falcon's eyes are capable of seeing a small animal from a mile away. The animal scurries to its hole but the falcon pounces on the furry creature at 200 miles an hour. The bird picks it up by the neck with its talons.
Oh, I see. Metaphor.
BACK TO LARGE MEETING ROOM
The agent writes something on a piece of paper.
SFX: Sound of Michael's heartbeat THUMPING wildly.
Is it biographical fiction?
Michael watches as she marks out a word on the paper with a pencil. And writes something.
It's a novel.
A BELL rings.
What is that noise?
UP CLOSE on clock on the wall, the second hand moves quickly.
We have two minutes left.
Her eyes look across the paper and she looks at the three-pager Michael has given her. She folds her arms on the desk as if she were getting ready to pray.
I don't know what draft this is.
It needs work.
FAST FORWARD MONTAGE
The agent does all the talking.
Michael writes down her words.
Michael writes down her words.
UP CLOSE on author's lips.
Read the back cover a book similar to what you propose to write. Study the author's voice. Make us care in the first two chapters, and give the reader questions they want answered throughout the book. All readers want really is fabulous writing.
FADE TO BLACK
The agent’s eyes move on to the next writer. Her eyes have washed over thousands of hopefuls Each sat across from her with an idea of getting a story published. The agent is but one step in years of personal exploration for a story before the novel takes shape. Now I find myself taking smaller steps until the story is mastered. Then I get to do this all over again. I will be ready.