The Wonder Spot
For the last several days, I’ve been indulging in Melissa Bank’s, “The Wonder Spot.” After reading Bank’s, “The Girl’s Guide To Hunting and Fishing” last year, I was pumped to read, “The Wonder Spot.”(Note to reader: if you’re a single female, be sure to get a copy of “The Girl’s Guide To Hunting and Fishing.” I promise you won’t be disappointed!)
Now, why might a dude like me be interested in reading books with a largely female audience? Simple: Bank is just an amazing writer! Her character development is incredibly detailed-exactly the thing that, for me, makes a novel great!
In “Spot”, there is a short story where the main character, Sophie, is an entry level editorial assistant in a Manhattan literary agency. Not only is she entry level, but Sophie struggles with incompetency; slow at typing, slow at reading, slow at writing, late for work. Yet, she’s observant and thoughtful-something which is sorely lacking in the agency.
Francine is another entry level editorial assistant who shares office space with Sophie. Both Francine and Sophie are assigned to read all the unrequested manuscripts that show up in the agency. Looking for that needle in a haystack, the diamond in the trash bin or, literally, the next big selling novel amongst ginormous stacks of manuscripts of wannabe authors.
Sophie simply skims the unrequested manuscripts, almost tossing them aside without a fair read-through. Francine, on the other hand, reads every word of every manuscript, even if she knows before the end of the first chapter that the novelist will get a “Thanks, but no thanks” form letter. Francine states that every author deserves to have their manuscript read by an agency…especially since each author may have spent the better part of a decade writing it.
Folks, speaking as someone who has sent in manuscripts to agencies (and then gotten back that “Thanks, but no thanks” letter), I really hope there are people like Francine in the world. Those who see the hard work others have done, recognize their sacrifices and, whether their product is good or not, give it the respect such a sacrifice deserves.
While I chose to self publish for a variety of reasons, I really hope that at some anonymous agency, there was a Francine giving my words the respect of a read-through.
To whom can you be Francine? Is there someone who wants your ear, but doesn’t have much of a chance of being heard? Are there people who have sacrificed great things and just need a bit of your recognition?
The Francines of the world don’t promise life-changing things…they’re just happy to give respect and recognition where it is due. Who knew I’d learn something valueable from a fictional character?