Some months ago, on a Sunday morning, I was standing in my local supermarket, hunting for a copy of the New York Times, when I received a call from my agent, Jeff Kleinman. This was exciting stuff. A few days earflier I had submitted a first draft of my latest novel, knew he was reading it and, since he was going to the trouble of speaking to me directly, I had reason to be optimistic.
“Amazing. Hit it out of the park.”
He was only half way through but he was loving it – getting Jeff to be this excited about my writing is a big deal. It was eleven o’clock. He was going to continue reading but he had to gush to the one person who knew the story. In my head I began spending the big advance that was surely coming my way.
At four that afternoon when he called again, I picked up on the first ring.
“Nick, we have a problem.”
And that was where the original draft of book six died, the realization that the first part was working well, but the second half had failed to maintain a sufficiently high standard. Ah, the joy of writing. One minute a bestseller, the next rejected.
Truth is, I can’t complain. Jeff is fantastic when it comes to guiding my writing, being honest about what does and does not work, and, by helping me wake up and not settle, taking my writing (hopefully) to a better place. Needless to say, I’ve been at it again, finishing off this manuscript for the past five months. This Friday it goes back to him and I get to do this over. He’s going to read it on a flight back from the west coast, so if there’s a guy wired on the red-eye out of LA, alternately laughing and crying, unable to sleep, that’s a good thing. If he returns to New York well rested, I guess I’ll go back to the drawing board!