Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Heroes & Villains

(Title of my favorite Beach Boys song)

Many people in this business have friends and enemies alike. I know that "enemies" sounds a tad paranoid but writers, editors, actors, directors etc. seem to evoke strong feelings in people they come across in their careers. Friends assess us and like us anyway. Enemies can find nothing worthwhile about us at all.

TCM frequently runs a short film featuring actors and other movie people talking about Alfred Hitchcock. I saw it again this afternoon and the favorable and unfavorable comments are so extreme you wonder how they can be talking about the same man.

The lovable uncle or the boorish egomaniac?

I always run up against this when somebody asks me what I know about a given literary agent. Fifty writers swear he's the best, fifty writers swear he's the worst. In my usual helpful way I always say that the only way you can find out is ask if he'll represent you and see what happens.

Since I'm universally beloved this isn't a problem for me personally. But I'll bet at least a few of you find the give and take among writers occasionally bracing.

1 comment:

Trey R. Barker said...

It's hard, you know, to be as universally loved as we both are, Ed. I mean, it would be nice if, for just a few days out of a given year, someone else could take the burden so you and I could go to Cancun. It's a tough job and all....

During the years when I was annoying the crap outta people in the horror world, and the beginning of my annoying people in the crime world, I was constantly asking about agents and that was exactly my experience. Half said someone was brilliant. Half said that same someone was a Neanderthal and the remaining half wanted a drink before they'd say anything. But sometimes that exists within the same agent for some writers. One day s/he's brilliant and the next s/he needs to be gutshot.