I’m the sort of person who needs three forms when I’m on the plane going into the US and they tell you you can’t make a mistake on the form. I always make a mistake. It’s because I think faster than I can write and my first thoughts are not necessarily spellchecked or belonging to the correct date. Basically I scan the thing, fill out what I think they want and when I’m dying to be asleep and the plane’s about to land, I look at it and realize half of it’s wrong. Approach the US border like that and you’re in jail. The softer option is that one of those big shouty people who carry guns round their wobby middles, is going to strip search you and send you back where you came from. Minus your luggage. I now am quite good at form filling and following written instructions which this week proved to be a minefield.
I belong to the NZ Society of Authors. Whoever came up with that name was a friend of Jane Austin’s. I mean, Society? Really? In lieu of an alternative that’s what I have to belong to if I want professional development. This week NZSA offered its authors the opportunity to pitch their novel to a literary agent over zoom. I immediately ignored the word pitch and went straight to novel and literary agent. I should’ve also skipped novel but thankfully they didn’t suggest it had to be completed. I’m in the final throes of that and I saw the date was August so I backed myself on that one and got to work. I wanted this to be good. I wrote the 4 line pitch, the bio, the absolute best synopsis I’ve done in a long time and I changed everything from Avenir to Times New Roman in an effort to impress. I also added a copyright symbol and headers. I came out of my office with the fractured sparkly lights of an impending migraine in the corner of my right eye. Tomorrow, I thought, I’ll fill out the form, pay the money and then I can spend a month shitting myself about the word pitch. The next day I went to fill out the form. And it wasn’t there because, you guessed it, a thousand other excited writers who didn’t give a damn about the font or the accuracy of their descriptive prose, nabbed all the places. So I’m now on a list (probably a very long list), of people to be advised should this ever happen again. I didn’t want to entirely waste my efforts so if you want to read the first chapter of my novel, I’ve put it online under Current Projects. It’s spell-checked (which is more than this is since they updated wordpress) so you shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever on that score. Happy to hear feedback.