Hobbit Tomatoes

There’s a scene in “Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings” in which the hobbits are camping on Weathertop, waiting for Aragorn to do some scouting. Frodo falls asleep, but Merry, Pippin and Sam decide to start a little fire and cook some food. When Frodo wakes, his friends offer him “tomatoes, sausages and nice crispy bacon.”

A number of filmgoers became upset with this, because they felt that tomatoes, being a New World food item, didn’t belong in the setting. You read that correctly – the story is about four little humanoids carrying a magical ring to destroy in a volcano, being escorted by a 90 year old ranger who rode and fought as if he was in his thirties, under the direction of a wizard, but somehow tomatoes didn’t make sense.

I read about this in the afterword of a novel* I just finished, and it […]

Continue reading Hobbit Tomatoes

The Right Way

I know a man who once decided to submit his manuscript to a famous movie producer. He didn’t know the producer, nor did he have any actual contacts in Hollywood. But he wasn’t going to let that stop him…he packaged up his manuscript in a nice, clean envelope, addressed it to the producer’s office, wrote *Confidential and Personal* on the outside and sent it on its way. Since it said *Confidential and Personal*, the producer’s secretary passed it directly to the man. The producer read it, and while he did not choose to make his next blockbuster movie based on my friend’s manuscript, he was kind enough to offer valuable comments on ways to make the manuscript more saleable.

I was at a publisher’s party some years back, having a conversation with my editor. A self-published writer (at the time, self-pub was almost never done and certainly not with any […]

Continue reading The Right Way

Mistakes I Made Part IV: Agent Quest

I’m on my third agent. I am extremely happy with her, have been with her for almost a decade and can’t imagine switching to someone else. We have sub-agents who handle foreign rights, and another agency who handles film and TV. But getting to this place took a long time and I thought I would give you a few telling snippets from my past which we might call How Not to Get an Agent.

Agents are essential. Some folk might dispute this, especially if they are working with or targeting small presses or are self-pubbed, but if you want a major, traditional publisher, you are going to need an agent. I didn’t know this when I wrote my first novel and so sent it directly to publishers with predictable results. When I started getting a clue, I began questing after agents, and being embarrassed by what I had been doing […]

Continue reading Mistakes I Made Part IV: Agent Quest