The Chaff

I handed over the A4 sheet, the one that contained the big picture narrative – the medium-sized synopsis. I was too nervous, would have tangled myself in verbal knots anyway. She scanned the words, hesitated, read some more. Not a word. Just silent thoughts. What was going on in there? Did she like it? I couldn’t tell beyond the poker face.

She looks up at me.

“How many words have you written?”

“Er, about 20,000 now. I’ve written the first act, prologue, chapters one to four.”

“Could you send it all in to me?”

“Yeah. Sure.”

I’m taken aback. Secretly pleased. She wants to see more? Suddenly her face seems brighter, she’s not some spiky barricade I need to convince. I would be lying if I said I didn’t walk away elated, I felt terrific, hopeful that my story has legs – maybe it could run after all?

I sent in the chapters and me-blurb – double spaced of course – pretty much immediately. Why waste time eh? And I received an immediate response, a kind acknowledgment, and an ‘I’ll get back to you asap’. That was six weeks ago.  And now I’m thinking, how long is that piece of string? What does asap mean in the literary world? Weeks and weeks and more weeks probably. The amount of first three chapters an agent must wade through each day, an endless sifting through the chaff, finding the rare grains of decent writing. Mine must still be tenth from the bottom. I hope. It’s either that or she thought my manuscript was pig-bottom shite – lost in that chaff.

The first week (or two) I waited by the mobile like a love-sick love thing. When will she call? How long until I hear her views?

Now I’ve let it go. I might make contact after the summer. I’ll see. I certainly don’t want to inhabit the shoes of a desperate novelist – stalk and herrang until I get an answer. Not pretty. No – I will send a polite nudge, then bow out with dignity.

But I know at some point – I trust my insides – that she will get back to me, and fingers crossed, dispense some constructive advise.

In the meantime, I shall just carry on with the words…

…and believe.

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