Skip just walked into his office at home, the space where he wrote.
The phone rang.
“Hello,” Skip said and sat behind his desk.
“Is this Skip Rollins?”
“Yes, it is,” Skip said.
“Good, I’m Dale Blakely, the agent you sent the manuscript to.”
“I’m glad to hear from you, Dale,” Skip said excitedly.
“I read your manuscript,” Dale said. “And I’m really excited about representing you.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Skip said. “My friend, Butch Walings, who you represent recommended you.”
“You have a good story and well written,” Dale said. “I don’t say this often, but I couldn’t put it down.”
“That’s encouraging to hear,” Skip smiled broadly.
“There are a few adjustments I will recommend that will assure publication,” Dale said. “What I’m going to do is send your manuscript back with a contract. Sign the contract immediately and get it back to me. That way I can start talking to some friends I have in the publishing business about your novel. What I do is get them eager and before long they are asking me for the manuscript, then begging. So during the next month, I want you to make some recommended changes. Then I can plop it into the lap of a publisher.”
“Incredible!” Skip said. “What suggestions do you have in mind?”
“Make the character, Charles Flowers, gay,” Dale said. “Nothing graphic, but just an added layer of conflict and realism.”
“But he’s not gay,” Skip said. “How real is that?”
“You’re the writer, make it real,” Dale said. “Weave it in. And don’t your people ever curse? Toss in an F-bomb here and there.”
“Normally I opt for just saying that the character cursed,” Skip said. “I allow the readers’ own background and breeding to fill in what was said when it comes to cursing.”
“That doesn’t make sense, you know?” Dale said. “Your characters have to have sex and curse and … well do things people do to make life complete.”
“There are all sorts of ways to use the bathroom,” Skip said. “My characters just go to the bathroom without an announcement or graphic description. Sometimes my characters don’t even go to the bathroom the entire story, but they got to relieve themselves sometimes. We know they do. If not, there would be a collective gush at the end of the novel.”
“As it is, Skip,” Dale said. “Your novel will never sell.”
“But you read it,” Skip said. “And you said you couldn’t put it down.”
“But I can’t get it past a publisher in its present form,” Dale said. “They won’t even consider it.”
“If you like it as much as you said you did that shouldn’t be much of a problem,” Skip said. “I’m sorry. Dale, the story and writing is true, to change it would be like drawing a mustache on the Mona Lisa.”