It’s with pleasure that we welcome again author Kieran Kramer on Book lovers Inc. Kieran’s new novel, Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right, is coming out tomorrow. It’s the 2nd book in the Impossible Bachelors series, I will just say these books are really worth your time! Let’s give a warm welcome to Kieran who will tell us all about her love of musicals and her encounter with a great but intimidating editor. Stay until the end for a great giveaway…and keep your eyes opened for a very sneaky secret giveaway in the guest post *g*
“Show (Don’t Tell!) Me Now: How Kate Duffy + Musicals = A Memorable Moment for an Aspiring Writer”
Okay, I am nuts for musicals!!! If I had my druthers, there’d be a “Life’s a Musical Day” the first Monday of every month. We’d sing everything to each other, dance through hallways, and do cool West Side Story leaps and kicks through the streets. Wouldn’t that make Mondays better?
All of you in my overactive (and perhaps deluded) imagination are yelling, “Yes, Kieran, it would!!”
But, alas. We don’t have “Life’s a Musical Day.” At least as far as I know…one of you is bound to tell me if we do. And whoever does first will receive a copy of both When Harry Met Molly and Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right (plus my undying gratitude). *G*
Okay, now I’m going to tell you a fun story. I was a new writer attending a national RWA conference and was assigned an editor appointment with the much loved and esteemed Kate Duffy. Sadly, Ms. Duffy passed away last year. I’d like to think she wouldn’t mind my sharing this little vignette with you.
For those who didn’t know Kate well–like me, an aspiring writer–she was someone, perhaps, to fear at an editor appointment. I’d heard many stories of her take-no-prisoners style.
Quite frankly, I was terrified to pitch my book to her!
I got up the nerve and did, but we were immediately off to a bad start. I complimented her on a book I’d just read by one of her authors. But it turns out this writer wasn’t one of hers! Kate told me so succinctly, and then she simply sat there and looked at me.
Oh, my God, I felt like such an idiot. My nerves were more on edge than ever. But I took a breath and pitched a book I’d just finished that, to be honest, I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in.
So at the end of my pitch, which I have no doubt rambled, Kate said something along the lines of, “Chick lit’s out. But send it anyway if it’s all you’ve got. I can tell you right now I probably won’t want it.”
And then she stared at me again.
I mumbled my thanks. We still had a few minutes left in the interview. So I started rambling again. Somehow–and I have no idea how–I found out she loved musicals.
Oh, thank God! Common ground! I was so excited. My nerves disappeared, and for a few minutes we were simply two women sharing a few observations about musicals. Both of us loved My Fair Lady.
Utterly polite to the end of the short time she was forced to spend with me, Kate Duffy never cracked a smile. But I took that as a challenge. I would make her smile someday!! I would!! And if I couldn’t…
I’d simply watch a musical and get over it. *G*
Anyway, I got home from the conference and sent off my partial to Kate. But just before I mailed it, I was reminded of my intention to make her smile. Maybe I saw a picture of Audrey Hepburn. Or perhaps I’d just gotten back from seeing Fiddler on the Roof performed at our local theater and had musicals on the brain. It could be that I was singing in the shower, where I think I’m the best Julie Andrews imitator in the world. At any rate, I remembered I was going to make Kate Duffy smile, even though I had little hope my manuscript would pass muster.
So very quickly, in a burst of inspiration, I adapted the lyrics of a song from My Fair Lady to express, from an editor’s point of view, what she is looking for (or might be frustrated by) in a manuscript.
I wish I could say my little tale ends with a heartwarming note from Kate to me saying that she was so entertained by my partial manuscript that she would buy it, but she didn’t, as I’d expected. She did make a brief referral to my tweaked My Fair Lady lyrics, but she didn’t gush.
To this day, I really don’t know if I made her smile. In fact, now that I’ve been around the block a little and understand how overworked and harassed editors are, I realize that I could have possibly annoyed her with the extraneous correspondence! One more piece of paper for her to read! Aye yi yi, would these new writers never learn to stick to the subject? *G*
Oh, well. Real life doesn’t always have endings that are tied up neatly, like beautifully wrapped presents. But I will say that the memory of my interaction with Kate Duffy feels like a gift to me that I can look back at fondly. I feel privileged that I got to meet her.
I know why: I think it’s because she was so real. Kate Duffy was a forthright person. You rarely meet people like her, who lay it on the line all the time!
I like that she didn’t coddle me. She was showing respect for me as a person by speaking honestly with me. I might have left her table disheartened about my manuscript’s chances with her, but I left with my dignity intact. She made it very clear that she had high standards and that if I met them, she would be more than willing to work with me.
I believe my very brief encounter with Kate Duffy made me more of a professional writer.So thank you, Kate, for showing me that substance is what’s important. Not a flashy idea, not flashy writing, but substance–something that shows (rather than tells) a truth–and does it well!
Here, for those of you who happen to be writers and love musicals, are the lyrics that I wrote for Kate:
Show (Don’t Tell) Me
Words! Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
I get words all day through;
First from my established writers and now from you!
Is that all you newbie scribblers can do?
Don’t talk of stars, burning above;
If your heroine is in love, show (don’t tell) me!
If selling a book is your desire,
If your characters are on fire, show (don’t tell) me!
There they are together in the middle of the book.
Don’t let them talk of spring–have their love scene cook!
Anyone who’s every been a writer will tell you that
The midpoint is no time for a chat!
Haven’t her lips longed for his touch?
Don’t say how much, show (don’t tell) me!
Show (don’t tell) me!
Don’t spout your pitch nor waste my time
If you clearly don’t know how
To show (and don’t tell) me now!
THE END :>)
Have you ever had any shaky moments with an editor and or an agent?
Do you like musicals? If so which do you like? If you don’t like Musicals, WHY?!
Kieran is generously offering 2 copies
of Dukes to the Left of Me, Princes to the Right
+ the secret giveaway mentioned in the post
All you have to do is answer Kieran’s question(s)
or just leave a meaningful comment about the post.
Please leave us a way to contact you
(email in blogger profile or twitter name is okay- no way to contact you – no entry)
This giveaway is open Internationally!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, December 12th
we will announce the winners on Sunday.
Bonne Chance everyone!