Maybe someone should invent an early detection system for gullible writers. Sirens and whistles would go off the next time we’re approached by a big talker who sweeps into our life with enough patter to sell vacuums to Kirby salespeople. You know the people I mean. The blowhards who convince us that we’re on our way to stardom and incredible riches because they recognized our talent and are ready to make great things happen. We see these people at conferences or any other place where writers gather. They’re surrounded by a crowd of rapt admirers who cling to every gilded word like barnacles on a boat.
I am not too proud to admit that I’ve been suckered in.
There’s the film director I met at a writer’s conference who was going to hand-carry my screenplay to the biggest producers in Hollywood. I should’ve realized that if he really had that kind of clout, he wouldn’t be in Houston, TX taking money from a bunch of starry-eyed scriptwriters. But he just smothered my ability to reason in an avalanche of words, “This is the greatest script I’ve ever read. You’re an f-ing genius. You’re gonna be rich...”
How could I not believe him? Except for the expletives, he was singing my song, ringing my bells, pushing my buttons. HE was the genius.
I called my husband in Dallas to share the good news and he threw together a celebration party. When I got home, I was greeted by friends with glasses of champagne and requests for tickets to the next year’s Oscars. I didn’t even need the champagne to be intoxicated. I really thought my barge had docked.
Within a month, the producer’s gusto dwindled to the merest draft, then was snuffed altogether. Based on his suggestions, I’d spent that time revising the script and called to tell him it was ready. After a frustrating hour of fighting my way through his voice-mail, I was finally able to leave a message. He called me back a week later to tell me he was sorry. He didn’t have time to be bothered. Perhaps I could send the script to some of the cable companies. They’re always hungry for product.
After that experience, you’d think I had enough sense to run like hell the next time someone like that approached me. But what can I say? I’m gullible. I’m still trying to get out of the tree I grew up in. And this guy actually worked at a big important production company in LA. I could trust him.
He was hot for the story idea I’d sent in, that eventually became the basis for my suspense novel, One Small Victory. Since it was based on a true story, he promised he’d contact the subject to acquire the rights. He also promised to bump my proposal to the executive in charge of production. And he thought I was a terrific writer. Why was I hiding out somewhere in the Midwest when I should be in Hollywood?
That was the last I heard from him.
So, okay. Is it just me? Am I the only one who attracts people like this? Please tell me I’m not. I need to see if there really is a market for this early-warning system. A guy just called from a manufacturing company...
Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Her latest book is Open Season, which has gotten nice reviews from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly. One Small Victory, is a top seller in the mystery bestseller list at the Amazon Kindle store. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. She will stop playing with her horse and work, honest.