What mint chocolate can tell us about writing and finding an agent

Just a quick post based on thoughts that seemed a good idea at the time but that I can’t really tell if are of any substance because I was not alone with the said thoughts, they were had at the front of a car containing 4 children behind just out of school and in full ear bending flight.

So what I think I was thinking is this:

My kids chose orange chocolate and mint chocolate in the supermarket. Why this combination of taste sensations was ever invented is far beyond my comprehension. I cannot abide these groupings and am only just fond enough of coffee Revels to risk my tastebuds being assaulted accidentally with the very similar from the outside looking orange centred one.ย  As for After Eights and Jaffa Cakes just stop it now.

Right now, some of you will be looking at me or rather this blogpost (If you were really looking at me you would see me guiltily eating a family pack of Revels by myself). You will be thinking to yourself, I really like zombie mermaid western steampunk thrillers and to that I say. GO YOU! (Over to the other side of the room at the very least). It’s all a matter of taste isn’t it? The things we like and the things we don’t.

If we like to write romance (mmm strawberry chocolate – now you’re talking), or crime (beef & chocolate, delectable) or literary books (swiss handmade chocolate with fresh cream centres, yum) then we should do that. We shouldn’t worry about the people who love orange chocolate loving our books or that the agent who only ever choses mint passes up our novel when our novel is clearly a completely different flavour.

My eldest son talks in Mario speak, that’s his immersion. He was also telling me in the car when I was trying to think about not orange chocolate that he really enjoyed a film recently that was a sort of army comedy. He remarked that these two elements shouldn’t really work together but they did. It sounded right up his street but not at all the kind of combination that I would enjoy. However he really loves orange chocolate.

(Mmm, two toffee centres in a row, things are really coming together for me!) (Arrghh, scratch that, I just ate an orange centre!)

So what do we need to do to be successful and ultimately published authors?

  • Be certain what kind of choc combination we like best
  • Write a book that is our very favourite kind of chocolate, the kind we want to savour forever, the kind we would always choose above the others, the kind that our loved ones should know to buy us when a) it’s a special occasion b) they are feeling very guilty
  • If it’s handmade swiss choc with a cream centre then find a handmade swiss choc with a cream centre agent and definitely not one who likes mint choc (apologies to any mint choc loving agents, since I’m looking for an agent (a swiss choc one for my literary novel) I really shouldn’t insult any of you but if we aren’t right for each other, so be it!)
  • Find all the other handmade swiss choc with a cream centre loving people in the world and offer them some of your choc (No! this is the tough bit, sharing with others!)
  • Make sure that everyone knows you are a handmade swiss chocolate sort of girl and that if that’s what they are looking for, that’s what they will get.

People sometimes get cross about genre, let’s face it, I do sometimes too. (I mean what am I going to do with my comedy, women’s, slightly sci-fi, slightly romantic novel (A selection box?)) but if you think about chocolate flavours instead you can see that it’s all about the flavour, the voice, the setting where you sit down to savour, the (word) combinations, the tone, the choice of language, how it melts, or how it snaps. There’s a feeling that goes along with a certain kind of chocolate and a certain kind of book, people know what they like and they don’t want mint chocolate if caramel is on the wrapper. )

And remember. The best thing about good chocolate is that it leaves you wanting more. Make your books like chocolate so that people long for their next bit.

That’s it really. Go to it, folks.

I am now eating the last Revel. It’s a toss up between coffee and orange again….No, hang on, it’s raisin. Now what kind of book is that…..?

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10 comments

  1. Belgian. Pierre Marcolin, from my ex-husband when he’s in town. Consumed in pairs only with an espresso at 11am. Always gives my writing a seductive sluicing. Not sure how that would define my work though?

  2. Alison, what a terrific thought pattern. I love the analogy! But Alison, now you have me running out to find the best dark chocolate I can find withing a 20 mile radius. ๐Ÿ™‚ With gas prices as they are, here in the state’s, the further I drive the less chocolate I can buy. Humph!

  3. Yes yes, you’ve got the idea! I love that seductive sounding one Catherine and I was a bit remiss in leaving out dark chocolate Cynthia. But yes, you know people are very into their chocolate and there’s a whole lot they want from it, satisfaction, stress relief, compensation for the ills they’ve suffered, pleasure, the list goes on and on. How can we make our writing be all that?

  4. I loved this post! Very funny and human but the analogy really works.

    Except that I actually love any flavour chocolate, except White, as long as it’s chocolate…

    1. Thanks for all your comments ladies, and notice it is all ladies, where are the male chocolate lovers, or is it just a girl thing? And Rebecca Brown is either a versatile writer or a dream reader – or both!

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