Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving.
Last week I had a dream that made Victoria laugh out loud when I told her about it, so I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve never before had a Writer Beware dream…this was a first.
I dreamed that I read an announcement in my local paper saying that Agent X, whom I recognized as a notorious scammer, would be teaching a “how to write fiction and get it published” class at my local college. I was furious, and nobody at the college would believe me that this guy was a scam agent and publisher. You know how dreams are…I seemed to spend hours hunting for people who could help, with my feet encased in lead, only to be told that no, the class would go on, and did I want to sign up for it?
So I decided to go underground, and sign up for the class. I appeared in class the first day, and it was exactly what I had expected…Agent X gave some very generalized comments about writing, then began pitching his bogus “literary agency” at the attendees, who were, in typical desperate newbie fashion, only too eager to sign up and pay him money for worthless services.
As the hapless class members queued up, checkbooks and credit cards in hand, I slowly rose to my feet. In true superhero fashion, I metaphorically ripped open my blouse and ID’d myself as the Chair of Writer Beware. As I did so, Agent X’s face twisted with hatred into a gargoyle mask. The students shrank back. I told the students to go to Writer Beware and read how to avoid scuzzy fake agents. I climbed atop my desk and waved my copy of Writer Beware’s impressive printout of our “questionables” list (which contains over 300 questionable agencies, both living and now out of business — because fake agencies, like vampires, do tend to Rise from the Grave) and told my fellow students that their so-called instructor was on it. Gasps of consternation ran around the classroom. (This is where you can tell it was MY dream. In real life, newbie writers would have reacted with expressions of “Huh?”)
Raging, the instructor strode out. My fellow students cheered me.
But wait! There’s more!
I left the classroom and headed for my vehicle. The parking lot was deserted and dark. Suddenly I heard a squeal of wheels, and I saw Agent X, still with his gargoyle mask of fury, behind the wheel of a white pickup truck. He gunned the truck towards me. I tried to jump aside, but he hit me, and I rolled to the pavement.
I “lost time” then, in true dream fashion. When things resumed, I had casts on both arms and legs. I was hobbling on crutches. But I was determinedly heading back for Round Two, the second class.
When I got back into class (I was late because of my crutches) I found the instructor happily collecting money from the students who were signing up to “publish” their books with his vanity press. I went ballistic. I did another rant, pointing out that X Publishing could not get their books onto the shelves in bookstores, that they were being charged not only for publishing, but for all kinds of “extras” like editing, etc. I rose to heights of eloquence never before seen, waving my crutches in the air for emphasis.
Agent X’s face underwent its gargoyle transformation again! This time, instead of hurling himself out the door, he hurled himself straight at me, and bore my plaster-encased self to the floor. He locked his hands around my throat and began strangling me, raving aloud about how he thought he’d killed me when he hit me with his pickup.
Fortunately my fellow students rallied, and pulled him off me. THIS time I had witnesses to the attack! They called the police, and he was led away in handcuffs, charged with two counts of attempted murder (because my fellow students had overheard his confession of trying to run me down). I stood there, ruffled and plastered, but grinning exultantly, because I knew he was going to go to the hoosegow for a good long time.
Just before the cops dragged him out the door, he shouted, “And I would have got away with it, too, if it wasn’t for Writer Beware!” in true Scooby-Doo fashion.
But this was actually a weirdly REALISTIC Writer Beware dream. Because the next image in the dream was of me staring glumly at the letter from the college to the students of the writing class. Since “Agent X” had become “unavailable” the letter said, they had hired “Agent Z” to teach the remainder of the class.
You guessed it. Agent Z was ALSO on Writer Beware’s Thumbs Down List of Questionables.
The name of the game is “Whackamole,” my friends.
Happy holidays, everyone!
-Ann C. Crispin
Chair, Writer Beware