Whose desk this is I think is clear.
His cat-bed on the desk-tray dwells;
He’s using it while I work here
To write at least one book this year.
My silly bird thinks he excels
In helping, though he never tells
What the next plot twist ought to be
As concentration he dispels.
And this is now a dog I see
Who shows up just to punish me.
His stupid head upon my lap
Hinting that he needs to pee.
So soft my bed, so warm my wrap
But I’m caught in contracts like a trap.
And shit to do before I nap,
And shit to do before I nap.
16 thoughts on “Staring Into Space on a Typical Afternoon”
Feels and Cliffs
Some say a book should end in feels;
Some say in cliffs.
From what I’ve learned of big book deals
I hold with those who favor feels.
But if I had to end it — if —
I think I know enough of sales
To say that for a series, cliffs
Are also great
For next-book riffs.
Oh, that is lovely! *sustained applause*
Bravo on both!
Someone there is that doesn’t love a cliff,
That sends requests for change regarding it,
And thinks that every knot should be untied.
My readers burn to know what’s going to happen,
For resolution gladly wait three years,
And think of little else meanwhile, I tell him.
He only says, “Good endings make good series.”
Sales are the mischief in me, and I wonder
How to put market wisdom in his head.
“Why do they make good sequels? Isn’t it
Proven by Tolkien and by Robert Jordan
That millions don’t want books too self-contained?”
I could say “Elves” to him; he’d take my meaning,
If he weren’t stubborn as a Linotypist
In darkness of the print shop. So he points
To the firm endings of my past best-sellers,
And likes the figures of their sales so well
He says again, “Good endings make good series.”
Oh, dear. Suddenly Robert Frost is good for something. Who knew?
Thank you, all, very much.
Nice one, Jerry!
Miramon, I had your and SKZB’s brilliant inspirations!
Two plots diverged as I planned my book,
And sorry I could not write them both
And tell one story, long I took
To note down several twists and hooks
The one suggested, being loath
To give them up. I’m writing the other–just as good,
And being, perhaps, more saleable,
More cinematic, if it should
Come to movies (Not that it would,
And anyway my judgement’s fallible
About what sells)—but I now find it hard
To look back on that plot, the one I didn’t choose,
Un-plotholed and pristine, or flawed
At least in ways unlike the ways that this one’s marred,
And feel that I chose rightly which to use.
When I submit this manuscript, I’m sure I’ll still
Be second-guessing my decision then,
Each time I get slush-piled or round-filed.
I chose to write the one I thought would sell-
But now I doubt that makes a difference.
Wrong poet, I know, but throwing it out as a challenge to the real poets here: Someone needs to do “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Deadline”
As Ackbar said: “It’s a trap!”
@Drickard: We could do them one at a time.
I do not know which to prefer,
The sweat of hope
Or the sweat of guilt,
Working at the deadline
Or just after.
After twenty attempted revisions
The only moving thing
Was the approaching deadline.
A writer and an editor
A writer and an editor and a deadline