I had some short stories, poems and photographs to share ... and so here I am

Spooky Writing Experiences !

 

There is a post over at Tracing My Way From Birth about the spooky experiences writers can sometimes have, which reminds me of a spooky moment I had once with a manuscript.

I talked about this here on my blog in April last year, but I'll retell the story for those who haven't been following me for that long!

Soon after starting to flirt to get the attention of an agent for my first novel, by sending out numerous copies of the first three chapters, I got a phonecall from an agent who wanted to see the entire book.

I was delighted ... but then quickly gobsmacked!

On a final reading of the work before posting it off, I discovered that buried in the middle of a late chapter was a minor character whose name was exactly the same as the agent asking to see the novel - the same first and last names!

You can imagine my panic and how baffled I was.

Of course, I changed the name. I didn't want the agent to think I was shamelessly trying to sweeten him up by putting his name in my work, and I dared not tell him about the incredible coincidence in case he thought I was a fruit cake!

It was either an amazingly spooky coincidence or maybe the agent's name was already in my head when I sat down to write the chapter in question. Had I been looking through a list of agents beforehand and some names had stuck in my conscience?

One of my friends preferred to insist that it was a "sign from the universe", that my book was supposed to be in that agent's hands. That theory was put to sleep when the man in question decided not to take the book any further. My friend, forever the optimist, quickly added, "But you did delete the agent's name from your work, didn't you? If you'd kept it in, instead of getting all freaked out ... '

We will never know.

But maybe now I should be writing the names Penguin, Macmillan, Faber and Faber and Random House all through my work.

(By the way, I took the spooky picture above at one of the light festivals that take place every year in Lyon.)

23 comments:

Susan Abraham said...

Ha-Ha to the last line.
But Shameless, are you serious?
Even if you wrote it in your conscious mind, you would remember the incident!
Did you look outside the window?
Is it THAT ghost? Shh! :-)

Caroline said...

I think that you should have kept it in and written a covering letter saying 'omg this is so odd...' In fact try it from now on ;-)

Happy to have found your blog.

Atyllah said...

I think being a writer means getting used to weird and wonderful things- unless you're one of those incredibly rational writers who plot a story from beginning to end before writing, who knows exactly what you will write about. The weird wonderfulness is part of the magic. I'm with your friend, you should have left the name in ;-)

Verilion said...

I think I would have taken the name out like you did. But in any case the photo is dead cool.

Jessica Schneider said...

Have you since changed it back?

I have a character named Raymond Carver in one of my books, not even thinking of the short story writer when I wrote the book, but it was probably flipping around in my brain somewheres!

exskindiver said...

shameless,
an uncluttered writing haven makes for an uncluttered writer--or is it the other way around?
(i was sent over to your work space by my sister peggy)
like you, i would have probably removed the agent's name for fear of putting the kibosh on the book.
but once in the bag, perhaps i would have opted to put it back in.

how about my own
"sign from the universe" experience--
http://exskindiver.blogspot.com/2007/01/small-world.html

ps: i think it's safe to say that my writing haven is far from uncluttered.

Shameless said...

Hi Susan,
It's true that small characters get small, thoughtless names sometimes, which is probably why I chose something like the agant's name - something quite ordinary! I'm still waiting for the ghost of Françoise Sagan! :)

Caroline, Welcome!
I did think of doing what you say, but with the chance of squashing a possible chance at a publishing contract, I thought it way too risky. :) Do come by again, the jug is always on! I must link to you as well! :)

Atyllah,
It is funny how things come to us though; how much is stuff we've got floating around in the subconscious. Next we'll be accused of stealing people's personal secrets!

Verilion,
I'm glad you were with me on this one! :) Not that it worked in the end, so maybe the others are right: I should have been bold as a bare ass!

Jessica,
The novel is now undergoing reconstructive surgery, and yes, you know I may just slip it back in, and then that agent will regret having turned me down when it becomes that brilliant best-seller! :)

and exskindiver, welcome!, and wow what a name, I love it! Nice to have a little trail that goes back to Peggy, who posted some lovely pictures of her space. My uncluttered space just means I'm half as cluttered in the head as I normally am! :) I'm going to go now and check out your link. :) Call by again, you're very welcome!

Jessica Schneider said...

Here's a story: John and Jill Faber go to the zoo to adopt a Penguin and then purchase a Random House on the corner of Knopf and Macmillian.

There. Don't know who would buy that, but it's a seed to start with...

Shameless said...

I think I may use that Jessica! :)

Jessica Schneider said...

Sniff Sniff. I smell a Nobel.

Shameless said...

Snap snap. I've already decided what to buy! :)

Minx said...

Nothing is coincidence - everything is planned. Next time read your signposts!!

Debi said...

I'm with the Minx. 'Tis magick.

Lost count of the number of times things I write suddenly have their mirror images in Real Life.

Now can I please have my ears back?

Shameless said...

Yes, Minx and Debi, I'm a big believer in that too. Next time everything stays in, even if I come across as a fruit cake!

Your ears aren't back yet, Debi? Damn, Minx assured me that u-turn spell would work. I'll get right on to her. I paid a good price as well. Maybe it's because I'm not a black one that claws at the moon!

jason evans said...

Was it a rather uncommon name? If so, yes, that's mighty bizarre.

Shameless said...

Jason,
Yes the name wasn't that common - I won't mention it here in case I ever want to send something to him again! - but let's say it wasn't something like John Smith. :)

Minx said...

No, you would have thought that 'Elvis Snodmuppet' was fairly uncommon really.

Buying spells on the black magick market never works, Shameless. Spells are another word for the power of the mind - send Debi some free healing thoughts.

Shameless said...

Minx, my FREE healing thoughts are too addictive! :)

Try Plisty Manklepooter!

Debi said...

Wow! Those free healing thoughts are really cool. Please send more.

Still can't hear though ...

What about Cedric Hoogleflump?

Shameless said...

With the dose I sent, you should be hearing through buildings now Debi! :)

Debi said...

No. But I'm feeling so gooooood.

The see the music, smell the colours, taste the smells ... wow, man.

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