Agony! Misery! Woe!

Happy Friday, everyone! To go along with Stacey’s post about submissions, this is a repost from my blog, a silly little song filk I hope some of you—especially those submerged in the submission swamp—might enjoy.

Last summer, when I was on submission with my novel to publishers, I remember being in complete and utter agony with the not knowing and not being in control. There’s a lot written about the query trenches throughout the blogosphere, but not a lot of space is given over to being on submission.

Part of that is because unlike querying, the experience of being on submission varies widely from individual to individual, so it’s hard to generalize. Another part is that being of sub is pretty much entirely out of your hands. Once your manuscript is on the desk of an editor, there is literally NOTHING you can do to influence the outcome. It doesn’t make for easy, digestible blog posts. Query tips are relatively easy to give, but there is no advice you can give to someone on sub, save Patience, young Skywalker.

And that advice sucks.

Being on sub is a bit like being the awkward middle schooler at a junior high school dance. Pick me, pick me! Sometimes you’re the first on the dance floor. Sometimes you’re left the self-conscious wallflower. Junior high—and publishing—can sometimes be cold and capricious.

I find the best thing to do in these sorts of situations is laugh them off. It’s either laugh, or cry, right? I’d rather a good chuckle than anguished sobs, so in order to distract myself, I rewrote the lyrics to “Agony” from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods.1

If you aren’t familiar with the song:

DELUSIONAL WRITER
Did I confuse them
With my rabid, insane,
Genius profundity?
Don’t I amuse them
With my witty, urbane,
Pretentious absurdity?

Agony!
Beyond power of speech!
When the contract you want
Is the only thing out of your reach.

DESPERATE WRITER
Here in my tower,
I sit by the hour
Awaiting the Call.
The one that will save me
And soon validate me
In the eyes of them all:
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Agony!
All those agents are jerks!
Low esteem, insecurity
Are affecting my work!

BOTH
Agony!
Oh the torment, the stress!

DELUSIONAL WRITER
Why can’t they just buy me—

DESPERATE WRITER
How could they deny me—

BOTH
They don’t know what is best!

DELUSIONAL WRITER
Am I not lyrical,
Luminous,
Radiant,
Brilliant,
Passionate,
Observant,
Upmarket commercial,
Ahead of my time?

DESPERATE WRITER
I am everything agents could wish for!

DELUSIONAL WRITER
Then why no—

DESPERATE WRITER
Then why no—

DELUSIONAL WRITER
They all must be mad!

DESPERATE WRITER
You know nothing of madness
Till you’re tearing your hair.
As you open email,
Yes, refreshing it,
Always refreshing it,
Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah—

BOTH
Agony!

DELUSIONAL WRITER
Misery!

DESPERATE WRITER
Woe!

BOTH
Though it’s different for each.

DELUSIONAL WRITER
Always ten trends behind—

DESPERATE WRITER
Always telling you no—

BOTH
And the dream is just out of your reach.

Agony!
Publishing’s appeal!
I must have a book deal!

Agony

Okay, so I went ahead and decide to record the cover for funsies. Apologies for inflicting my voice on y’all. This song is not in my range.

  1. At the point I had written this, the Disney movie version hadn’t come out yet. I have…Thoughts about it, but the “Agony” scene with Billy Magnussen and Chris Pine is definitely the best—and maybe the only worthwhile—scene in the entire film.
  

5 Responses to Agony! Misery! Woe!

  1. Luan Pitsch Sep 18 2015 at 9:04 am #

    I am a fan! That was so stupendous, tremendous. The rhyming, the timing, it so much appeals.

    But seriously. Thank you for making me laugh.

    • JJ
      JJ Sep 18 2015 at 9:42 am #

      Hahaha, thanks. I had to keep my sanity SOMEHOW during the submissions process. 😉

  2. Chris Bailey Sep 18 2015 at 10:47 am #

    Brava!

  3. Stacey
    Stacey Sep 18 2015 at 11:45 am #

    LOL; Stephen Sondheim had no idea he was writing for us, right?

    • JJ
      JJ Sep 18 2015 at 2:08 pm #

      ????

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