Category Archives: Rachel

4

So long, farewell…

by Rachel

In my blog post on Friday, I touched upon the need—or the compulsion, really—to revise my blog entries, and then to revise them again. This blog entry is no different and I’m sure to self-edit a handful of times before I send it off, as I want to leaving a good lasting impression (!) on all of you, because, as Jane mentioned earlier, I’m leaving the DGLM crew to go back to Australia for a short time.

Working as Jane’s assistant has been a true pleasure. I started my position knowing only a little about the publishing industry, but I’ve learned an incredible amount since my time began here (after all, I’m learning from the best of the best), and I’ve been so fortunate to get as many wonderful opportunities as I have. I’ve had quite an amazing run with the DGLM team, and it’s been a delight to work with such dedicated and passionate people, who truly love what they do; the enthusiasm and drive of each agent has been inspiring.

I’ll miss a lot of things about working with the DGLM family. Of course I’ll miss the (sometimes) weird and wacky queries that sometimes made my skin crawl; I’ll miss reading wonderful manuscripts by talented authors, and there’s no doubt I’ll miss the morning stampede to the kitchen when breakfast arrives (and of course the eyebrow-raising conversations that take place there!).

So, I might’ve failed in getting anyone in the office to eat Vegemite, but—as corny as it sounds—I really did succeed in falling in love with books all over again, and making wonderful friends here at DGLM whom I hope to cross paths with in the future. I know Rachel Stout is going to be a great addition to the team and really enjoy working with this incredible group of people.

2

The two Ms. Rachels

by Jane

So there is good news and bad news at DGLM. The bad news first:

Our dear Rachel Oakley has had to depart. Originally from Australia, Rachel was well ensconced in our company and doing a superb job. She had even signed her first client. In short we all loved working with her.

Sadly, about four weeks ago, Rachel learned that her father, who lives in Australia, is critically ill and so she is leaving the States to be with him during this difficult time. Because she doesn’t know how long her stay will be, we were forced to accept her resignation.

And then came the new Rachel—our good news!

Rachel Stout is a graduate of Fordham University here in New York with a degree in English and has always wanted to be in book publishing. After a year working in the retail clothing business (the perfect background for our very fashionable office) and pursuing publishing internships, she has joined our team. We are absolutely delighted to have her, and I hope all of you will welcome her to our staff.

5

Editing for Eternity

By Rachel

Every Friday I sit down and I start to write my weekly DGLM blog, and after writing and revising, revising some more, and then perhaps one more edit, I’m ready to send it off to Lauren (who’ll look over it – sometimes suggest more edits – and then post to the blog). When I read my blog posts, I usually think I could’ve said something more interesting, or would rather have touched on an issue in a different way, so if it was up to me, I’d be revising my blog entries for hours before I turned in the final version (which is why I never start writing them until late Friday morning – so I’m forced to meet a deadline).


Blog posts are one thing, but thinking about the endless self-editing that goes with book writing exhausts me! If I ever had the guts to sit down and write a novel, I know I’d never be able to hand in a finished manuscript because I’d want to rewrite every page, and then make edits on the edits. Take a look at Jean Hannah Edelstein’s Guardian article on the dangers of “overcooking” books, and if you’re a compulsive self-editor, you’ll relate easily to this one.


So, how many times have you revised your manuscript? And, are you ever really satisfied with the end result?

20

Leaping Ahead

by Rachel

Ever find yourself writing and then wanting to skip ahead to write the more exciting chapters?  Well, author Jennie Nash touches on this in her Huffington Post article, and says that beating the temptation to write ahead is actually working for her. 

My uncle, an editor and sometimes-writer, mentioned to me once that his ideal way to write a book is to write whatever comes to mind, and to jump ahead in chapters if you feel compelled to.  His reasoning was that writing should come naturally, and structuring it the way Jennie Nash does (by way of Ann Patchett) seems unnatural and forced.

I can’t say I’ve ever had enough dedication to sit down and pen a novel, so I wouldn’t know how I’d want to write it, but what method do you prefer? Starting from chapter one, or writing different chapters whenever you get struck with an idea?

13

Caution: Snooki writing

by Rachel

Thanks to Michael for pointing out this Salon article on celebrity novelists (don’t be turned off by Snooki’s photograph heading the story—you should read this!). Michael Humphrey notes that it takes a “special daring jump” for celebrities to pen novels, if celebrities are penning these at all (I really don’t believe Lauren Conrad wrote her novel—do you? Do you care?), and I have to agree. Memoirs I understand; everyone wants to read about someone else’s life, but when it comes to fiction, should celebrities stay away from trying their hand at literature?

I, for one, won’t be reading Snooki’s novel, but for fun, what do you think the opening line to the book will be?

4

How to be rejected

by Rachel

Back in May, Jane asked you guys what your biggest query mistakes were, and many of you were quite eager to share your horror submission stories with us. Hopefully reading those horror stories gave you a bit of advice on how to improve your queries.

But, if you’re looking for advice on how to turn an acceptance into a rejection, look no further than the staff over at Writer’s Relief, whose sarcastic tips for failing (or, succeeding—in receiving rejection letters!) are published on the Huffington Post.

My favorite tip for rejection has got to be taking it personally. There’s nothing like an author who gets politely turned down and then seeks payback!

Going through this list, what have you been most guilty of?

7

Holy Books and Dating

by Rachel

Back in May, I mentioned attempting to read Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, simply because the President was reading it. I tend to be nosey and want to know what kind of book choices public figures make. So, it’s no surprise that I was interested to take a peek at the Vatican’s Secret Archives, as posted in The Guardian. Manuscripts and publications collected for more than 800 years lie within the 85 kilometers of shelving in this vault.

I thought the article on the Vatican’s archives was the most fascinating story of the week, until I saw this Wall Street Journal article by Hannah Seligson, on dating websites catering towards book lovers. For one, I don’t think partner compatibility can be based on book choices. Sure, it certainly shows you have a common area of interest if your favorite genre is sci-fi and so is your partner’s, but does this translate to a personality match also? I’m not so sure; I think a dating site for book lovers is a unique endeavor, but I think it takes a lot more than the same taste in books for compatibility.

What do you think? Do you and your partner, or friends, share the same taste in books?

13

Sob stories

by Rachel

During my last semester of college, I took a “filler class” to complete the philosophy credits of my degree. Philosophy of Art was the name of the course, and topics such as expressionism, moral and aesthetic value, and artistic taste were studied. One question that continually arose during the course was what we really meant when we said a work of art was “good”. Some students agreed that a work of art was “good”, or held significant value, if it was simply aesthetically pleasing. Other students believed that emotion needed to be play a part when art was being evaluated. “Good art,” it was argued, held significant value if it moved an audience.

In Philosophy, there never seems to be a “right” answer to any argument, but I finished the course believing that the emotional connection we have with a masterpiece—the feelings we take away with us after watching a play, looking at a painting, or reading a book—is what gives significant value to art. That’s not to say that aesthetic value is overlooked, but in my opinion, what separates the extraordinary from the average is that extraordinary work has the ability to move us and change our ways of thinking.

Many times have I found myself sobbing like a baby while reading a tragic novel. I remember finding a copy of Haruki Murakami’s Norwegian Wood in the back of my brother’s car and reading it from start to finish with tears for every alternate chapter. Murakami was able to help the reader dive into an anxious and uneasy world by way of his young characters and touch on topics such as lost love, mental illness, and death. Other sad and memorable novels I love are The Awakening by Kate Chopin (the last page left me distraught for days), and of course, John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Time and again I’ve tried to read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, but this novel seems to be a little too depressing for me to finish. My favorite writers are those who are able to lure me into their fictional worlds, usually by writing books that make me cry!

Over at the Huffington Post, Jason Pinter gave us the responses from a question he asked on Twitter about books that made readers cry. And although I complain that some novels may be too emotionally-charged to read, I love a good tear jerker and would love to hear what books moved you and had you reaching for the tissues.

4

Check yo shelf

by Rachel

We don’t mind a bit of rap here at DGLM, as Lauren pointed out in her recent blog entry. So, if you are a fan of rap and literature also, you’re in for a real treat! Margaret Eby over at Flavor Wire has put together famous rappers and their 20th Century literary doppelgangers. From Ja Rule to Jay Z, Hemingway to Nabokov, you can see which rap artist matches up to which writer. Eby seems to hint that rap is on the rise and reading will soon be outdated by the new tech age, but I disagree—I think there’ll always be just enough space in our world for rap and reading!

So, can any of you match some of my favorite rap artists with their literary doppelgangers: Snoop, Lil Kim, Eminem?

5

Location, location, location

by Rachel

One of the things I loved about living in San Francisco was its close proximity to Steinbeck country. No more than two hours south of the city lies Monterey, where Steinbeck set the scene for his novels Cannery Row, Tortilla Flat, Of Mice and Men, East of Eden—the list goes on. Walking along Cannery Row while smelling the ocean and hearing the gulls, or driving half an hour inland to Salinas (where the National Steinbeck Center is located) was an exciting pilgrimage for me, because, if I haven’t mentioned it before, John Steinbeck is my number one literary hero.

So, I found it fascinating to read Alison Flood’s article from the Guardian, on literary book tours. What a thrill it is to visit locations mentioned in your favorite novels! I have a few favorite New York literary hotspots I like to visit on occasion: The carousel in Central Park (J.D. Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye); Macy’s Santaland (David Sedaris’ Holidays on Ice); Pete’s Tavern (O. Henry’s Gift of The Magi), and Chinatown, Tiffany & Co., and The New York Public Library (Truman Capote’s Breakfast At Tiffany’s).

What are some memorable locations from your favorite books you’d love to visit?