Thursday, May 14, 2009

Gut Check

Most of you know that I have been shopping my latest novel around trying to land a literary agent. That novel is titled Plundered Booty and after receiving feedback from several agents that requested and read the full manuscript, one thing has become clear. Plundered Booty has a large flaw. A flaw the novel shares with its creator.

Both Plundered Booty and myself sag in the middle.

The consensus is the first 70-80 pages are strong and draw readers in. The last 60 - 70 tie everything together and result in a satisfying ending. But right there in the middle is a big old, unappealing beer gut.

So now I've been reading the novel myself with that info in hand, and I agree. But acknowledging the problem is but the first step. A couple of nights I dreamed about Plundered Booty, the book that is, and by morning I felt inspired that I can indeed fix the novel. The process has already began and I'm excited by the promise that I can complete the transformation by July 1st and have a much better and more marketable novel at that time.

I also have a July 1st deadline to work on that other bloated midsection. the one circling my waist. A month ago I placed a weight loss bet with my friend Arlene. If she loses a higher percentage of weight by July 1 I have to wear a pink Barry Fanilow shirt and take her to see Barry Manilow when our group of friends goes to Vegas in October.

When, not if but when, I win. I am going to make her buy my ticket and go see the new risque version of Little Bo Peep at the Planet Hollywood Casino. The show is called Peep and my guess is Arlene's husband, Rob is pulling for me to out lose his wife because what man wouldn't rather see a Vegas show called Peep, rather than hear the cheesy warbling of Barry Manilow. Is it just me or does Barry Manilow look like the dorky brother of Wayne Gretzky?


THE CROONER ------------------>






THE GREAT ONE ---------------->






And a month in I am 12 pounds down. My goal is to lose 18 more before July 1. Arlene almost conceded yesterday by saying, "At least Rob will enjoy Peep."

So here's to tighter and more appealing midsections.

40 comments:

Michelle H. said...

Good luck in fixing all your sags! I'm rooting for you.

(Secretly, I'm pulling for Arlene to win just to see you in the Barry Manilow shirt - I think you would look lovely in pink!)

Janna Qualman said...

It's huge you've identified the problem, so good for you! Best as you rewrite, Travis.

Same with the weight loss, too. You're doing great!

Janet said...

Well, gee, I wish I could cheer for you going to see Peep, but I just can't. But I think tightening both midsections is a wonderful idea.

And it's wonderful you got such helpful feedback, so you know where to go with your manuscript!

Melanie Avila said...

*raises glass*

Here's to eliminating saggy middles!!

Enjoy Peep. :P

Being Beth said...

12 lbs. is impressive, and while I think the Manilow shirt would be a hoot, I hope you win.

Exciting about the book, really. Something fixable, and "good" rejections.

Go-go-go-go-go!!!!!

theneatos said...

Go Go Go! I'm pulling for you on the weight loss and the Booty!

Virginia Lady said...

Congrats on the weight loss. As for the story, we all have those times. A fresh take on it may make all the difference in fixing the lull in the middle.

Eric said...

Good luck on both fronts...er..middles. As you say, owning up to a problem is the first step. The fact that you're eagerly plunging in to fix the problem is great. As for the weight loss, good job so far and hope you win. That's a hell of a bet, and I for one wouldn't want to be going to a Barry show in pink.

Ello said...

Even though I usually root for the female to win in a contest like this and I can't condone the Peep show, the thought of seeing Barry Manilow is just so not appealing and I can't do that to you Travis. So I'm pulling for you.

Good luck on the MS too! I've had mine with a professional editor and am waiting for the revision letter. Will see what she says.

alex keto said...

I had heard that Barry Manilow isn't actually a human but a terminator that got loose after a joke program was installed in its CPU that told the robot to "kill" the audiences at Vegas with its singing.

Anyway, he doesn't look very much alive in the photograph. Maybe it's a Weekend at Bernies deal with lip syncing.

As for Plundered Booty, I think your prescription sounds on target. Humor carries a long ways but other aspects can lift the load of the middle. (All that being said without having seen the middle but knowing the end.)

Kateyamatey! said...

You can do it! Barry Manilow sounds like fun for you. Pink totally goes with your cheeks. ;)

Clare2e said...

Congrats on the slimdown.

I remember discovering that my assigned sophomore college roommate was an avid member of the BMIFC (Barry Manilow International Fan Club). She was willing to hang the hugest posted in the back of the closet though, which was thoughtful.


I know that my first completed MS had that saggy middle problem, for sure. An agent who'd requested the full said she lost interest on 168, and I zoomed to that page only to find that's where I had a villain whipping out a gun on the heroes. If I didn't make THAT sound exciting, well the rest was downhill from there.

Good luck with your tweaking. That's why they they call the MS middle "the muddle."

Robin said...

So excited that Plundered Booty is getting lipo! What a process huh? You're still ahead of me...still clutching your coattail and babbling incoherently...purging the passive voice gave me a serious condition...still in recovery!
Very torn on the mid section dilemma..I want you to succeed in all of your endeavors...but would pay good money to see in Fanilow mode!

powdergirl said...

Ah, the mid-section. I am pathetically ab-obsessed and strongly recommend Pilates and a low carb diet to keep you out of Barry Manifold's torture chamber.
Congrats on the 12 lbs!
Good luck with your sweetly titled novel as well.

spyscribbler said...

That is so funny, Travis! I must work on both my sagging middles, too. And gosh, if someone threatened me with Barry Manilow, I think I'd be sufficiently motivated to get rid of them. :-)

pita-woman said...

Good luck on the re-work of both sagging middles. But I have to admit, I'm a Barry Manilow fan, so I wouldn't mind going to see him.

Lynnette Labelle said...

Great job on the weight loss. As for the novel, how lucky are you that agents gave you feedback you could use. Wow! Now, you can fix it up and WILL get published. *shaking your hand* Well done.

Lynnette Labelle
http://lynnettelabelle.blogspot.com

laughingwolf said...

gopher it, travis, like michelle, sez
you prolly look good in a pink froufrou blouse... but not til ye fix that sag :O lol

[i'm working on mine]

glad you have a handle on the other middle, too... keep us posted :)

Bee said...

Good luck with both missions. And yes, I can see the resemblance between Gretzky and Manilow -- add a couple of decades, distort with plastic surgery, and slather with fake tan.

David Cranmer said...

Best of luck in downsizing. Sometimes the hardest part is letting go of prose you have worked on for many months.

Bina said...

you're right! They do look a like! And hey, Barry had some pretty good songs.

"I write the songs that make the young girls sing!!!!"

Um, Peep? I damn sure wouldn't go there!

Jason said...

I'm cheering for ya Trav!

Cloudia said...

You are admirably hardworking!
Enjoy "Peep."
Aloha

Annie said...

What? Pink isn't your color?

Middle sags are hard to fix, the literary and tummy types. Good luck on both accounts!

Mystery Robin said...

Middles are hard - more power to you! But if you end up looking like either Jerry or Helen from the Biggest Loser this season, we'll need to buy you some wings!

Skeeter said...

Hi! Good luck with the hunt for an agent and the battle of the "bulge". Got something like that going on here too.

Best wishes,

Skeeter

the walking man said...

Even if you win you should wear the shirt.You may find that the peepees (us) like it; even if the showgirls don't.

Jessica said...

LOL Travis!!!

I hope you lose that gut. For your sagging middle, I bet you could fix that just by adding some sort of thread that rises and rises, then ties up at the middle? Maybe?

LOL Good luck!

sybil law said...

I have no doubt you'll fix both mid sections appealingly!!!
Barry Manilow is pretty scary to look at, but I do like some of his cheesy songs! (Reminds me of being a kid!)

B.E. Sanderson said...

Good luck getting rid of both sagging middles. Sounds like you've got an awesome start on both goals. Congratulations. =o)

J. L. Krueger said...

Hey buddy I'm pulling for you! On both guts...or something like that.

I hit a point were I decided I was not continuing to buy bigger pants and belts. I got back down to my old football playing weight (211), but things aren't arranged the way they were back then. So I guess I need to keep dropping. Even all the working out I do doesn't have the desired instant impact.

Oh well, I guess we put it on over time, so it comes off the same way.

Good luck on the bet. I wouldn't wish Fairy Manilow on any man!

My wife loves him.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I hate how fast men lose weight, damn it.

I mean, good luck and all, but GRRRRR.

Reb said...

Good luck with your middles. I would love to see you in a pink shirt, but not if it means you stop losing weight. I don't mind Manilow in small doses, but don't think I could sit through a show.

Anonymous said...

Gee Travis, it is a slow day and I just happened to stop by. Did I forget to tell you that those pink shirts only come in a size medium?!? You are going to look soooo fine!!! Can't wait to sing along with Barry! AHHH! The motivation, I'm off to the treadmill.
Arlene

Melissa Marsh said...

Great job on the weight loss AND on realizing how to fix the sagging middle!

lyzzydee said...

Good luck on both counts!!!

Kristen Painter said...

I need a tighter, more appealing midsection too. But just physically. My books never suffer from that, strangely enough...

Deanna said...

Just shoot me if I'd have to go see Barry Fanilow - yuck! I'm pulling for you to win, although I'm not so sure Peeps is a good choice either.
Good luck with the sag issues. I look forward to reading your book WHEN it is published.

Oh and thanks for leaving the bloggy notes on my blog. You are right, Travis is a really good name.

dizzblnd said...

I love when you get dreams that helpp you figure out what you need to do. How awesome that you remembered it. Good luck on the novel AND I the weight thing.... although I'd like to see you in a Pink Barry Manilow shirt

Barrie said...

How great that you've figured out how to make your novel marketable!! I think you should be a good sport and wear the Barry Manilow t-shirt no matter what. :)